Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 7 / Trend M. Aliyev /
The main reason that explains Azerbaijani public interest in Ramil Safarov's destiny, was that he killed an officer of the Armenian Army - an army that has destroyed more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis. The second factor was that the Hungarian court sentenced him to an inadequate punishment, Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department Head Ali Hasanov said in an interview with popular Hungarian portal Origo News.
Hasanov added that the second factor is that the Hungarian court sentenced Safarov to the inadequate penalty.
"It is known that the Armenian army has been occupying Azerbaijani lands for more than 20 years, over 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories have been occupied by this army for many years, and this army killed more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis," he added.
"It leveled tens of thousands of Azerbaijani villages, towns and monuments to the ground, destroyed the city of Khojaly and its population in one night, subjected it to genocide, etc.," he said.
"Therefore, the question of extradition of Ramil Safarov was a national and public issue of Azerbaijan in every sense of the word," he added. "Of course, the act committed by Ramil Safarov has never been approved by the authorities of Azerbaijan, for that act he was arrested by the Hungarian court, and we believe that this corresponds to committed act. But there is one question that Azerbaijani society has discussed for several years."
"At that time, the Hungarian court treated Safarov too cruelly, and imposed an inadequate punishment on him, under heavy pressure from Armenians, including the pressure of the representatives of some pro-Armenian diasporas, and foreign organizations," he said.
"For a crime committed by Ramil Safarov, European countries, Azerbaijan, and Armenia itself and others impose a punishment of 15 years, and after serving half the sentence, a prisoner, falling under an amnesty for good behavior, is released. Therefore punishment passed by Hungarian court for 8,5 years has continuously been assessed by Azerbaijani people as inadequate decision," he said.
"The result is obvious, and today, after 8,5 years of serving the sentence, the Azerbaijani society regards Safarov's release as a just act. In fact, the President of Azerbaijan pardoned Safarov using both the opinion formed during that time, and possibility, created by the Azerbaijani law as well," he said.
"Azerbaijani authorities and socio-political circles do not assess the act committed by Ramil Safarov as heroic," he added. "We believe that Ramil Safarov had to answer for what he did, and he did answer. But the inadequacy of the sentence passed against him to some extent has inclined Azerbaijani public towards Safarov. After all, there have been analogs of such actions."
"Azerbaijani public is well aware that the representatives of the Armenian people, who at one time contributed to the deaths of dozens of people in France, USA and other European countries, who terrorized dozens of people, were pardoned in Europe and in Armenia as well," he said. "But somehow Safarov's pardon in Azerbaijan causes great international resonance."
"That is why Azerbaijani public's confidence and respect for Ramil Safarov is growing. Prior to that, no Azerbaijani organ of the press presented Ramil Safarov as a national hero, no organ of the press approved of the murder committed him," he said.
"But at the same time, comparing the other acts committed by the Armenians, the crimes committed by the Armenian army against Azerbaijanis, the act committed by Ramil Safarov, was assessed as less heavy," he added.
"Safarov's extradition from Hungary to Azerbaijan is absolutely legal and is in line with international obligations," he said. "It is known that European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, adopted within the Council of Europe indicated that transfer of a citizen of one country, convicted in another country, to serve the remainder of the sentence in ten years at most, is considered legal."
"In accordance with this Convention, the Hungarian authorities transferred Safarov to Azerbaijan so that he could serve the remainder of his sentence," he added. "The document on extradition notes that Azerbaijani courts can not re-examine Safarov's criminal case, and can not mitigate his punishment sooner than after 25 years. This will be decided by the courts."
"But both a document on extradition, and the convention do not touch upon the amnesty act by country's other pardon institution, he stressed.
"It is known that in addition to decisions made in connection with the conclusion of the courts, there are two other legal acts - one of them is an act of amnesty passed by Parliament, the other - the act of pardon, signed by the Head of State.
Head of State, exercising this right, pardoned Ramil Safarov."
"This pardon is based not only on national law and powers of the head of state to do so, but it was also caused by three other factors," he said.
"Ramil Safarov faced inadequate decision, since under domestic and international law a crime committed by him he would be punished by arrest for a maximum of 15 years," he said. The law of any country foresees that a convicted person after serving half the sentence can be pardoned."
"Second, public opinion played a role in Safarov's pardon," he said. "Azerbaijani public believed that Safarov has already received his punishment, as he was serving his sentence in Hungary for 8.5 years in a penal institution. According to Azerbaijani law, the pardon of the convicted person who has served one half or one third of punishment is considered normal."
"On the other hand, the Azerbaijani President, based on the principles of humanity, pardoned him, given the fact that Ramil Safarov is not a threat to Azerbaijan, the world community and other people, and taking into account his confession, good behavior in prison, public opinion and other factors. This contradicts neither international convention nor Azerbaijani legislation," he added.
"In addition, Azerbaijani public opinion and the principle of humanity contributed to the release of Ramil Safarov," he said. "By this pardon the Azerbaijani president and the Azerbaijani authorities have not put Hungary in a bad position. On the contrary, the Hungarian authorities were aware that in addition to the Azerbaijani courts' attitude to this issue, there is also an amnesty, act of pardon. Therefore, the Azerbaijani authorities, taking into account serving most of the sentence passed by the Hungarian court, had to pardon Safarov and pardoned him."