Five Armenian prisoners returned from Azerbaijan to Yerevan
Five more Armenian prisoners returned from Baku. The return of the captured Armenians held in Azerbaijan after the end of the second Karabakh war, once again, took place with the participation of Rustam Muradov, now the former commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh. All previous exchanges took place when Rustamov was still in command.
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Reports from Yerevan
The plane from Baku landed at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan. Five Armenians returned to their homeland: Mels Hambardanyan, Rafik Karapetyan, Zhora Manukyan, Sedrak Soghomonyan, Hovsep Manukyan.
Three of them – Rafik Karapetyan, Sedrak Soghomonyan and Mels Hambardanyan – were sentenced on July 23 by an Azerbaijani court to 6 years in prison. The same verdict was passed on July 22 in the Baku court against Zhora Manukyan and on July 29 against Hovsep Manukyan.
During a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State held last week, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Armenia is ready to provide Azerbaijan with maps of minefields of territories located in the rear of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and posing a humanitarian threat – in exchange for Armenian prisoners.
However, it has not yet been reported whether the minefield maps were handed over to the Azerbaijani side in exchange for prisoners.
After the end of hostilities in Karabakh, 108 captured military personnel and civilians were returned from Azerbaijan, now the total number of those who returned is 113. There are still 70 people in Baku, whose presence is confirmed by the Azerbaijani authorities. Armenian human rights activists believe that in fact more people are currently detained there.
According to the Investigative Committee of Armenia, after the end of hostilities in Karabakh, the whereabouts of 224 military personnel and 22 civilians are unknown.
Reports from Baku
There was no official information from the Azerbaijani state structures on the return of the Armenian military personnel at the time of publication of the material.
According to the Azerbaijani media, these are the Armenian soldiers who were not involved in grave crimes against the Azerbaijani army and population.
“Some of the transferred soldiers are members of two RDGs detained on May 27, 2021 in Kelbajar while trying to enter the territory of Azerbaijan”, the reports state.
This step was described as “another humane gesture of Baku”.