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Azerbaijan's policy is aimed at getting more Armenian captives. Lawyer Siranush Sahakyan, Head of the "Center for International and Comparative Law" NGO, stated during a discussion at the American University of Armenia, emphasizing that Baku is using this matter for political purposes.

The lawyer listed some cases of Azerbaijan’s deliberate capturing of Armenians, including civilians, starting from November 10, 2020 until the Azerbaijani military aggression of September 19-20, 2023 in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Sahakyan informed that until now Azerbaijan has returned 210 Armenians. According to official data, 23 Armenians, to whom the ICRC has access, remain in Azerbaijani captivity. Since 2020, five Armenians, including two elderly men, remain in Azerbaijani captivity.

"Their age and participation in the first Artsakh war [in the early 1990s] are reasons for which Azerbaijanis treat them with particular cruelty," Sahakyan added.

There are three more Armenian civilians, one of whom is Lebanese Armenian Vicken Euljekjian, his Lebanese citizenship is used by Azerbaijan to "prove" that Armenia has attracted mercenaries. The other two Armenian youths were captured on November 11, 2020. And the remaining cases are related to last year.

"Everyone is familiar with the case of Vagif Khachatryan. The [elderly Artsakh] man was captured [by Azerbaijanis] in the presence of the ICRC. Another elderly man got lost and was captured. Eight [others] are the former leaders of Artsakh," Sahakyan listed.

According to her, there are also 80 cases of enforced disappearance. These are cases when the Armenian soldiers came under Azerbaijani control alive, without serious injuries, but disappeared without a trace.

"In the overwhelming majority, there are video recordings, in other cases—eyewitness accounts, so the fact of captivity is beyond doubt," emphasized the lawyer.

Sahakyan noted the delicacy of this topic when Armenia’s authorities had to hand over the obvious Azerbaijani criminals in order to save some of the Armenian captives from Azerbaijan.

"From this point of view, of course, the transfer and release of the juvenile murderer in [Artsakh’s] Shushi [city] is a violation of the rights of the deceased, in which Armenia’s authorities are also involved, although we all understand what is happening," concluded Siranush Sahakyan.

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