ECHR rules Azerbaijan must pay 60k euros in compensation to family of killed shepherd in 10-year-old case
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in the case of Saribekyan and Balyan v. Azerbaijan, which involved the capture of an Armenian shepherd in Azerbaijan 10 years ago who was later found hanged.
The ECHR has ruled the parents be paid 62,000 euros for moral damage and legal expenses – half the amount demanded by Saribekyan’s parents.
Who was Manvel Saribekyan?
Twenty-year-old shepherd Manvel Saribekyan was captured in September 2010.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan stated at the time that ‘Armenian intelligence officer’ Saribekyan was captured “during a sabotage operation carried out by Armenian forces from the north-eastern part of Nagorno-Karabakh”.
The family of the young man in a statement to the European Court of Human Rights said that he crossed the border by mistake, in foggy weather, when he was looking for firewood and missing livestock.
However, the Azerbaijani authorities accused him of planning to blow up a school in one of the Azerbaijani villages.
Saribekyan was taken to the military police department in Baku. On October 5, he was found dead in his prison cell.
Azerbaijani authorities said that he hung himself. A month after his death, Saribekyan’s body was transferred to the Armenian side.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia sent a request to the Azerbaijani side for the provision of forensic medical examination data, but received no response. During the autopsy examination, traces of torture were found on Saribekyan’s body.
The ECHR’s verdict
The court ruled that Azerbaijan violated the articles of the European Convention on human rights, and considered the forensic medical examination carried out in Armenia, which, in addition to strangulation, recorded hemorrhages in the kidneys, chest, lower back, thigh and rectum, as well as head injuries caused by a blunt object.
“The court found that Saribekyan was subjected to ill-treatment and physical abuse during the last days of his life while being held at the military police station in Baku, and the suffering he was subjected to was tantamount to torture.”, the verdict reads.