There are dozens of Armenians in Azerbaijani prisons who were arrested or captured after the 2020 Artsakh war.

  • by Western Armenia, December 05, 2023 in Politics

Why don't Azerbaijani human rights defenders protect Armenians? What does their return depend on? We tried to answer these and other questions, writes the BBC.

It is not known how many Armenians are in Azerbaijani prisons. Among them are military personnel (they are often called terrorists in the Azerbaijani media), civilians, as well as members of the unrecognized leadership of the Republic of Artsakh. It is believed that the situation is the most difficult for prisoners of

Armenian human rights defenders say that many of the soldiers died in captivity. Besides, Armenia does not believe that there are only 33 Armenian soldiers in Baku. According to Armenian data, as of the spring of 2023, they are more than 100. Neither the Prosecutor General's Office nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the BBC's question about how many Armenians are being held in Azerbaijan.

The Armenian MFA and the ombudsman also did not respond to our requests. In its response, the International Committee of the Red Cross refused to mention the numbers

Today, the health condition of Armenian soldiers in Azerbaijani prisons is monitored only by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ICRC told the BBC that the results of these observations and their recommendations, according to their own procedure, can only be passed on to the authorities of the detaining party, ie Azerbaijan. The BBC tried to talk to the lawyers of the Armenian soldiers tried in Azerbaijan. However, none of the nine lawyers could be contacted at the time of publication.

Arif and Leila Yunus, who live in the Netherlands, are among the few Azerbaijani human rights defenders who follow the trials of Armenian soldiers in Azerbaijan.

According to them, the trials of prisoners of war are being conducted with violations. In particular, prisoners do not have the opportunity to contact their relatives, and trials are held behind closed doors, and journalists cannot find out what is happening in the courtroom.

At the same time, the ICRC claims that it regularly visits Armenian detainees, including to maintain contact with their families. They can communicate through phone calls, emails and pre-recorded videos.