Armenian serviceman (right) who was released by Azerbaijan in exchange for minefield maps. Screenshot: http://tvzvezda.ru/news/202174824-87Swu.html

07 July 2021, 15:04

Terms for giving out POWs from Azerbaijan spark criticism in Armenia

Azerbaijan is unlawfully claiming Nagorno-Karabakh minefield maps in exchange for Armenian prisoners of war (POWs), Yerevan online debaters believe.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on July 3, Azerbaijan handed 15 POWs over to Armenia after, on Russia's initiative, Armenia provided Azerbaijan with minefield maps in the Fizuli and Zangilan Districts. Earlier, on June 12, Azerbaijan also handed 15 POWs over to Armenia in exchange for minefield maps in the Agdam District.

On July 6, the "Article 3" Yerevan Journalism Club held an online discussion on the issue of Armenian POWs, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent has reported.

The Azerbaijani party has "staged a trial" over the Armenian POWs for political reasons, Siranush Saakyan, a lawyer, who is representing Armenian POWs’ interests at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), stated in the course of debates.

"The return of 15 POWs in exchange for minefield maps is evidence of this policy. Demining requires multi-million expenses, as well as time; and Baku offers an exchange to achieve the goal. From the humanitarian point of view, demining is important, but Azerbaijan resorts to blackmail in order to avoid costs," Ms Saakyan expressed her opinion.

Arman Tatoyan, the Armenian Ombudsperson, has agreed with the opinion that Azerbaijan is trying to extract military-political benefit from the issue of POWs’ extradition. "Evidence of this is the video record of Aliev's conversation with Erdogan's wife, in which Aliev admits that he uses POWs for bargaining," Mr Tatoyan said during the debates.

The Armenian party should raise the POW issue not only at the ECtHR, but also in other international structures, the Ombudsperson has concluded.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 7, 2021 at 09:43 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Tigran Petrosyan Source: CK correspondent

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