Azerbaijani-American council condemns misrepresentation of black January victim by Armenian news agency
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 27 / Trend /
The Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) expresses outrage over a bitter misrepresentation of the victims of 1990 Black January events in Azerbaijan by the Asbarez news agency, the council reported.
Jan.19, 2010, the Los Angeles-based Armenian daily published an article titled "Remember Black January and the Massacre of Baku's Armenians" featuring an image of the Black January victim with a comment "Armenians were murdered in their homes during the weeklong massacres."
After the investigation of facts, it became clear that the victim depicted on the image used by Asbarez was the 18-year old Vera Bessantina, an Azerbaijani of Jewish origin, who was killed by Soviet troops during the invasion of Baku on the night of January 19-20, 1990. In fact, this picture of Vera Bessantina was taken on the same night in Baku by the late ITAR-TASS photographer Andrey Soloviev (killed in 1993 during the Abkhazian War in Georgia). An original copy of this archival image was also provided by Soloviev to AzerInform (now known as AzerTaj State News Agency of Azerbaijan).
On behalf of all concerned Azeri-Americans, Azerbaijani-American Council condemns all forms of misuse of online or printed media for defamation and dissemination of nationalist propaganda. We call upon the editorial board of Asbarez news agency to correct its mistake and to issue a formal apology for an insensitive insult upon the memory of the Black January victim.
The Soviet Army commenced military operations against Azerbaijan early morning Jan. 20, 1990 before declaring a state of emergency. The Jan.20 tragedy claimed the lives of 137 people. Some 744 people were severely injured. About 841 people were illegally arrested. The Soviet troops destroyed 200 flats and houses, including ambulances, personal and state property.