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ECHR Urgently Communicates to Azerbaijan over Captive Soldier from Armenia  

In August 2019, Ara Ghazaryan was officially declared stranded on the border of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan and arrested by Azerbaijani forces. Since then, he has been kept under detention, without any contact to the outer world, states Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor (HCAV), human rights organization that has helped Ara Ghazaryan’s mother, Karine Mnatsakanyan to lodge an urgent compliant to the European Court of Human Rights for urgent measures due to evidence of real threats to his life.

Human rights organization HCAV reports that Ara Ghazaryan’s family has kept in touch with their son through letters exchanged via the Red Cross. Ara’s last letter was received on February 20, 2020. The family members have not had any immediate contact with him though and have no clear information on his location in Azerbaijan and conditions of detention. Ghazaryan was arrested on August 12 in Azerbaijan and on the same day a video was released on Youtube where he was showing various injuries on his body. No further videos of Ghazaryan were posted. No information is currently available on Ghazaryan.

Based on the request of Ghazaryan’s mother, HCAV lawyers Arayik Zalyan and Ani Chatinyan lodged an urgent request to ECHR to take temporary (interim) measures by justifying the real danger to violations of Ghazaryan’s right to life, right to be free from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. The human rights organization pointed out to numerous stories of captives in Azerbaijan taken hostage from Armenia that were tortured and killed.

On April 2, 2020, the European Court for Human Rights took an interim measure decision by which it communicated the government of Azerbaijan to take measures to ensure Ara Ghazaryan’s right to inviolability of life and allow the complainant to file a complaint. The Court has also requested the government of Azerbaijan to provide certain information by May 14, 2020.