Residents of Azerbaijan's Meshali village address open letter to int'l community (PHOTO/VIDEO)

Society Materials 1 August 2023 18:30 (UTC +04:00)
Residents of Azerbaijan's Meshali village address open letter to int'l community (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Humay Aghajanova
Humay Aghajanova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 1. The residents of Azerbaijan's Meshali village have addressed an open letter to the international community, Trend reports.

"We, the residents of Meshali village in the Khojaly district, where Azerbaijani civilians fell victim to genocide committed by Armenian armed formations in December 1991, are well aware of the war criminal Vagif Khachatryan, who was recently detained at the Lachin checkpoint. His hands are stained with the blood of innocent people - women, infants, and elders," the letter said.

"For 32 years, no international organization has shown interest in the genocide committed against the residents of Meshali village. No human rights organization has raised a voice of protest against Armenia, as if nothing had happened. They did not see or hear about this tragedy, but we know very well that they did not want to see or hear about it," the letter noted.

"As soon as the war criminal Vagif Khachatryan was arrested, various organizations emerged one after another, calling for his release," the letter pointed out.

"Today, hundreds of families from Meshali live compactly in a settlement for displaced persons in Goranboy. Every resident of Meshali demands to bring Vagif Khachatryan and other similar war criminals to justice in Azerbaijan. Those who call for the release of Khachatryan should be ashamed before the people of Meshali, Khojaly, and the Azerbaijani nation," the letter also said. "When will you defend our rights? If the international community had responded timely to the Meshali massacre and taken the necessary measures, such atrocities would not have been repeated in Garadaghly, Khojaly, Aghdaban, Balligaya, and Bashlibel."

"We regret that despite Azerbaijan's goodwill, the Armenians abuse the medical evacuation service of the International Committee of the Red Cross, attempting to exploit it for smuggling and the escape of criminals like Khachatryan," the letter further noted. "The measures taken to hold Khachatryan accountable have no relation to the Armenian civilian residents of Karabakh. We look forward to the day when we return to Khojaly, to our homes."

"We have never held animosity towards peaceful people, unlike persons like Khachatryan. We, the residents of Meshali, who have experienced such a heavy tragedy, continue to show wisdom and declare that we want to live in peace, and we have no problem for living side by side with Armenians. However, the lawful punishment of war criminals is a crucial condition for ethnic reconciliation. Unfortunately, even after the 2020 second Karabakh war, Armenia has taken no steps to hold these war criminals accountable," the letter authors emphasized.

Investigation of criminal case initiated by the Azerbaijani Military Prosecutor's Office on relevant articles of the Criminal Code on massacre and deportation of persons of Azerbaijani nationality, destruction and harm of public and private properties resulting large-scale damage caused by members of illegal Armenian armed groups on December 22, 1991 in Meshali village of Khojaly district is ongoing.

The investigation established that a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan Khachatryan, who was born in 1955 in Badara village of Khojaly (former Asgaran) district and worked as a driver in Khankendi city transport company, together with other people of Armenian nationality, used various weapons, including firearms and infantry fighting vehicles, to kill all Azerbaijani residents of Meshali village (Khojaly district).

The assailants attacked the village, killed 25 and injured 14 people of Azerbaijani nationality, and, contrary to national and international law norms, expelled 358 Azerbaijanis from their domicile.

In addition, Khachatryan continued his criminal actions together with his accomplices, destroying and damaging property belonging to the state and villagers, causing a total of over 5.96 million manat ($3.5 million) of material damage.

Due to the fact that sufficient reasonable suspicions arose regarding the criminal case, it was decided to involve Khachatryan as an accused person under articles 103 (massacre) and 107 (deportation or forced movement of the population) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. However, due to the fact that his whereabouts were unknown to the investigation, on November 12, 2013, an international arrest warrant was issued by an Azerbaijani court's decision.

As a result of the conducted search measures, on July 29, 2023, Khachatryan was detained by the military personnel of the State Border Service at the Lachin border crossing point of the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border while trying to go to the Republic of Armenia for treatment through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.