Armenia and Azerbaijan exchange prisoners again
Another exchange of prisoners has taken place between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On January 28, six people returned to their countries: five captured Armenians were returned to Yerevan, one Azerbaijani to Baku.
The exchange of prisoners took place with the mediation of the Russian side.
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Information from Yerevan
Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinyan first announced on his Facebook page that five Armenian prisoners were returning from Baku to Yerevan.
In addition, he wrote that 62 Armenian servicemen in captivity were given the opportunity to talk on the phone with their relatives.
These servicemen who were captured in December 2020 – that is, after the end of hostilities in Karabakh.
Azerbaijan declares them to be saboteurs and intends to put them on trial, while the Armenian side considers them prisoners of war and demands their return.
The five prisoners who returned to Yerevan are from this group of servicemen.
Armenian Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan has already visited the Armenian servicemen. Employees of his office examined the state of health of those who returned from Baku.
Earlier, on December 14 and 28, 2020, an exchange of prisoners took place. With the mediation of the Russian side, a total of 58 people returned to Armenia at that time. Armenian human rights activists claim that at least 120 more prisoners are still in Azerbaijan.
The issue of returning prisoners to their homeland was also on the agenda of the trilateral meeting of the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, which took place in Moscow on January 11.
However, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan stated after the talks, the issue could not be resolved.
“This is the most sensitive and painful issue, because it is a humanitarian issue, and we agreed that we will continue to work in this direction,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
Reaction from the EU
The European Union welcomes the return of five prisoners to Armenia and calls for the immediate return of the remaining 57. Representative of the head of the EU foreign policy Peter Stano wrote on his Twitter microblog:
“This will build the trust between the two countries, which is essential for lasting peace in the region.”
Earlier, European MPEs expressed their attitude to this issue in the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. They called on the parties to the Karabakh conflict to immediately exchange prisoners.
Information from Baku
It is reported in Azerbaijan that a criminal case has been opened against Alyosha Aramaisovich Khosrovyan, who is accused of committing terrorist acts in the territory of Azerbaijan as part of an illegal armed group.
Khosrovyan is allegedly one of those 62 Armenian servicemen who were captured in December 2020.
Khosrovyan is charged with the following articles of the Criminal Code: 228.1 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation and carrying of firearms, their components, ammunition, explosives and devices), 276 (espionage), 279.1 (creation of armed formations not provided for by Azerbaijani legislation or groups, as well as participation in their creation and activities, supplying them with weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment or military equipment) and 318.2 (illegal crossing of the state border).