Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hungarian Consulate attacked

Editor's Note: We hope cooler heads prevail and Armenia restores diplomatic relations with Hungary.

The Hungarian Honorary Consulate in Yerevan, Armenia, was pelted with tomatoes by angry Armenian demonstrators last Friday. The protesters also ripped off the Hungarian flag flying over the consulate building and trampled upon it as a sign of dissatisfaction. The Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced on Friday, that his country broke off diplomatic relations with Hungary due to the Hungarian government's decision to free an Azerbaijani convict, Ramil Safarov Sahib. 

Sahib, an Azerbaijani officer, killed an Armenian officer in Budapest in 2004. They were both room mates participating in a NATO conference in Budapest at the time. Apparently, in the early 1990s, both Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over some disputed regions between them. Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were made refugees in that conflict. Sahib hacked the Armenian officer to death in his bed and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary. 

He was recently turned over by the Hungarian government to Azerbaijan under the condition that he would serve the rest of his sentence in his own home country. The Azerbaijani government sent a letter to the Hungarian government promising that they would honour the sentence and imprison him when he got back to Azerbaijan. When Sahib returned to his home country his government immediately released him and pardoned him. This was in contrast to what they had promised the Hungarian government for his release. In addition, Sahib received a promotion to the rank of major, a new apartment and 8 years worth of military salary that he was unable to collect because he was in a Hungarian prison for that time. 

The news of Sahib's release by Hungary spread like wildfire in Armenia. The Hungarian Honourary Consulate was targeted by an Armenian mob who showed their displeasure with the decision to release Sahib back to his home country. The response by the Armenians who attacked the Hungarian Honourary Consulate was a little over the top but understandable given the situation. Many experts have said that Sahib's extradition to Baku (Azerbaijan) was in full compliance with international law and Hungary did not do anything wrong. In addition, Hungary received assurances and promises from the Azerbaijani government that he would serve the remainder of his sentence in Azerbaijan, which obviously did not happen.

Many countries in the world have extradited prisoners back to their own home countries to serve the remainder of their sentences. This case was no different from those apart from the fact that the Azerbaijani government broke their promise to the Hungarian government. It made Hungary look like fools and the bad guy in this whole affair. In all reality, Hungary should break off diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan because of this whole incident. It probably won't happen but how can the Hungarian government trust Azerbaijan after this affair. 

What we do know is that the government of Azerbaijan can not be trusted or taken seriously. Azerbaijan has shown the world its true face and it's not very nice! Hopefully cooler heads prevail in the next few days and that Armenia restores diplomatic relations with Hungary.

For more on this story:  click here (Link 1)   click here (Link 2)