Armenian occupants massacred Azerbaijanis in Khojali: Leyla Aliyeva

Armenian occupants massacred Azerbaijanis in Khojali: Leyla Aliyeva

Russia, Moscow, Feb. 28 / Trend , R. Agayev /

"War is terrible. It causes the grief of hundreds and thousands of people. War is particularly tragic when innocent people are killed. And this is exactly what happened in Khojali. The Armenian armed forces deliberately killed Azerbaijani civilians," head of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Representative Office in Russia Leyla Aliyeva said at a commemorative ceremony at the Baku Cinema in Moscow on Feb. 27.

The ceremony was organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Azerbaijani Youth Organization in Russia and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Youth Forum to commemorate the victims of the Khojali Genocide.

"These people were shot cruelly. They were innocent. They were massacred because of their ethnicity. This was genocide committed against the Azerbaijani people," Aliyeva said. 

Aliyeva, who is also the OIC Youth Forum general coordinator for intercultural dialogue, described the tragedy as a crime against humanity.

She said Armenia's aggressive military operations were a deliberate attempt to scare the Azerbaijani people.

"History shows that the spirit of the Azerbaijani people has not been broken and will never be broken," Aliyeva said. The Khojali tragedy was a black page in Azerbaijani history, she added.

Aliyeva said the Azerbaijani people will never condone the occupation of their native lands and will restore the country's territorial integrity.

"Today we are commemorating those killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - the victims of the Khojali tragedy. Once again we urge the international community to acknowledge these events. It is inappropriate to kill civilians in the 21st Century for the sake of selfish, nationalistic gain," Aliyeva said.

Aliyeva initiated the "Justice for Khojali" campaign on May 8. The campaign aims to inform the international community about the Khojali Genocide, she said.

"Those Azerbaijanis who sacrificed their lives for our native lands will never be forgotten. Azerbaijan's territorial integrity will be restored and justice will triumph," Aliyeva said.

Aliyeva invited witnesses of the Khojali tragedy Zaur Aliyev and Anar Usubov to speak at the ceremony.

The Khojali residents were children at the time and shared their painful memories about the brutal massacre.

The Justice for Khojali Web site was launched as part of the ceremony.

The event began with a minute of silence to commemorate Khojali victims.

A documentary film was also shown titled, "Khojali. Tragedy of a Town."

The film was produced by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

OIC Youth Forum Secretary General Elshad Isgandarov spoke about the campaign.

He noted that it had already been launched in many countries. 

"Several OIC programs highlight these crimes across the world. Studies show that injustice is very apparent in the aftermath of the Khojali Genocide because the world does not even know a tenth of what happened or the driving forces behind the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Thus, Leyla Aliyeva's initiative found a great deal of support," Isgandarov said.

The campaign is not aimed against any nation. It meets the interests of the OIC and Azerbaijani people, who used to live in peace with all their neighbors, including the Armenians, Isgandarov said.

"Justice for Khojali calls for liberating the occupied territories and respecting the memory of the victims," he said.

One of the first Russians to protest the crimes committed in Khojali spoke at the event.

Yuri Pompeyev, author of "Bloody Pool of Karabakh," shared his memories of the tragedy that unfolded on of Feb. 26, 1992. Pompeyev said after Black January in 1990, it became clear that another bloody campaign was being prepared against Azerbaijan. Pompeyev sent a telegram to the Russian leadership urging them to withdraw the Russian army's 366th Motorized Fusilier Regiment that had been deployed in Karabakh in August 1988.

"But unfortunately this did not happen," he said.

The Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Ministry's film titled, "Dua," was also shown at the event.

The film depicts the tolerance of the Azerbaijani people.

A photo exhibition dedicated to the Khojali tragedy was also organized in the foyer.

Thematic books, magazines and brochures were also distributed among visitors and participants.

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