12:09, May 29 255 0 theguardian.com

2020-05-29 12:09:04
Clarifying the case of Ramil Safarov

Tahir Taghizade’s reference to the Ramil Safarov case needs correcting (Letters, 28 May). Mr Safarov, then a lieutenant in the Azerbaijani army, was convicted of the murder of Gurgen Margaryan and the attempted murder of Hayk Makuchyan (both Armenian officers) in Budapest in 2006. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with the possibility of conditional release after 30 years.

In 2012 he was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan, under the Council of Europe convention on the transfer of sentenced persons, to serve the rest of his sentence. Instead, he was immediately set free, pardoned by the president and promoted to major. Mr Margaryan’s family and Mr Makuchyan challenged this at the European court of human rights (represented by us). On Tuesday, the court found that these actions meant Mr Safarov had in effect been granted impunity for his crimes, breaching the right to life under the European convention on human rights. It found the actions were also discriminatory because the authorities’ “glorification of his extremely cruel hate crime … had a causal link to the Armenian ethnicity of his victims”.

Philip Leach

Director, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Middlesex University