9th anniversary of Ramil Safarov’s heroism

Ramil Sahib oglu Safarov is a convicted officer of the Azerbaijani army who, while participating as a lieutenant in a NATO-sponsored course of studies in Budapest in 2004 killed a fellow attendee, Armenian Army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan with an axe.

The murder was committed because Margaryan had insulted the Azerbaijani flag. Margaryan and/or Makuchyan had urinated on the Azerbaijani flag; used it to clean and wipe their shoes; and had played an audio recording of "voices of suffering Azerbaijani women and girls." No witnesses were ever called during the trial to corroborate these allegations.

On April 13, 2006, a Hungarian court sentenced Safarov to life imprisonment without right of appeal for 30 years. The judge, Andras Vaskuti, cited the premeditated nature and brutality of the crime and the fact that Safarov showed no remorse for his deeds as the reasons for the sentence. On February 22, 2007, a Hungarian appeal court upheld the ruling following an appeal filed by Safarov's lawyer.

While serving his sentence, Safarov translated two novels by Hungarian authors into Azerbaijani.

In 2006, Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary with a minimum incarceration period of 30 years. After his request under the Strasbourg convention, he was extradited on August 31, 2012 to Azerbaijan where he was greeted as a hero, pardoned by Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev despite contrary assurances made to Hungary, promoted to the rank of major and given an apartment and over eight years of back pay. According to Azerbaijani authorities, Safarov was pardoned in compliance with Article 12 of the convention. Following Safarov's pardon, Armenia severed diplomatic relations with Hungary and immediate protests broke out in Yerevan.

The banned radical Azerbaijan National Democrat Party awarded Safarov with the title of "Man of the Year 2005".

After serving eight years of the life sentence, Safarov was extradited under the framework guidelines of the 1983 Strasbourg Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and transferred to Azerbaijan on August 31, 2012. Although the Hungarian government stated that it had received assurances from the Azerbaijan government that the remainder of the sentence would be enforced, President Ilham Aliyev issued a pardon immediately upon Safarov's arrival in Baku and ordered that he be "freed from the term of his punishment."

After arriving in Baku, Safarov stated: "This is restoration of justice. It was a bit of surprise for me." He then visited Martyrs' Lane to lay flowers at the tomb of Azerbaijan's former president Heydar Aliyev. He also laid flowers at the Eternal Flame monument and visited a monument to Turkish soldiers.

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