понедельник, 3 сентября 2012 г.

The Wall Street Journal: Hungary Taking Heat for Extraditing Azeri Convict

Hungary has raised concerns in the United States and the European Union after Budapest unexpectedly extradited an Azerbaijani murder convict.

Ramil Sahib Safarov was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison after he used an ax to kill an Armenian national Gurgen Margarjan in Budapest in 2004. The two were participating in an international military exercise.

An investigation found that Mr. Safarov’s targeted Mr. Margarjan purely out of political reasons to reflect the deeply-rooted animosity between their home nations.

Mr. Safarov Friday arrived in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to a hero’s welcome, immediately received a pardon, was set free and promoted. Armenia was outraged and the country’s President Serzh Sargsyan announced that Yerevan was severing diplomatic ties with Hungary as a result.

“Not I or Armenia can accept this. The Armenian people will not forgive this,” he said.

The Hungarian government condemned Azerbaijan’s actions and claimed it was misinformed by Baku on how Mr. Safarov would be treated. He was extradited with the original intent of serving the rest of his prison sentence at home, the government in Budapest said.

State secretary Peter Szijjarto also tried to reject the government’s culpability in the events and stated that the transfer was transparent and conducted in line with international law.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban Monday downplayed the incident and said the government is “acknowledging the debate with coolness and calm.”

The opposition took a different tone.

“Hungary’s government aided a murderer to freedom,” said head of the main opposition socialist MSZP party, Attila Mesterhazy.

“We wouldn’t even dare consider the prospect that the Hungary extradited Ramil Safarov…in return for Azerbaijan’s investments,” representatives of the green opposition LMP party said citing reports form last week that the government is planning to issue 2 billion to 3 billion euros ($2.5 billion  to $3.7 billion) in debt to Azerbaijan. The government is scheduled to issue altogether 4 billion euros this year.

Besides the diplomatic backlash for Hungary, the incident has also invigorated the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. President Sargsyan said that Azerbaijan “has been warned” and that while Yerevan doesn’t war, it definitely won’t back away from one.

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