Throat cutting video from Karabakh sends Armenian, Azerbaijani public into uproar – for different reasons
A video has been circulated on social media in which two allegedly Azerbaijani servicemen cut off the head of an elderly Armenian man; the video is said to have been filmed during the second Karabakh war.
The video first surfaced on a Telegram channel connected to Azerbaijani military news.
The video has caused outcry on social media throughout the Caucasus, primarily in Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Reaction in Azerbaijan
Many have called the clip a fake, specially made by the Armenian side ‘to discredit the Azerbaijani army.’
But there are also many who condemn what happened and demand from the Azerbaijani authorities a serious investigation into the fact and strict punishment of those responsible.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan has promised to investigate every fact of war crimes committed during the second Karabakh war on both sides.
Typical comments from users of the Azerbaijani segment of social media:
“All thugs…and those who shoot and distribute their videos, people who applaud them on social media should be held accountable before the law. The Ministry of Defense, the Prosecutor General’s Office should inform the public about the results of the investigations,” wrote the well-known journalist Khadija Ismail.
Another comment written by another well-known journalist, Afgan Mukhtarli, who now lives in exile in Germany:
“The war of the most heinous has fallen to our lot. Blasphemy, cruelty and murder in ethnic wars are becoming commonplace. Ethnic hatred puts everything human into the background. After all the battles and violations of the ceasefire, the main issue is the number of deaths from the opposite side.
We are more happy with the losses of the adversary than with the conquered lands. The adversary thinks exactly the same as we do. In ethnic wars, the main goal is to kill as many enemies as possible.
We must turn this war into a Patriotic war in reality. Serious reforms must be carried out in the army. Not only in weapons and exercises. The soldiers must undergo psychological training.
If this is not the case, we will see many more head-cutting scenes. Let’s not forget that the conflict is still not over, and the third Karabakh war is inevitable.”
An example of a comment from a person who posits that the video could be fake:
“Cutting off a man’s head is not as easy as one might think. Many of the videos that ISIS once disseminated turned out to be fake. And some were filmed by special services posing as jihadists. […] As for ‘our’ episode, no one has ever recognized these thugs as their neighbors or relative.”
Reaction in Armenia
In Armenia, the comments on the video are about the same both at the level of the authorities and on social media:
“Cases of inhuman treatment of prisoners of war and civilians held as hostages do not stop from the Azerbaijani side. [They] are brutally tortured and beheaded alive. Exactly the same way that ISIS treated hostages in the Middle East,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan said at a press conference in Moscow on December 8 after meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Armenian human rights defenders stated that they are collecting data to apply to international structures.