U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released a statement decrying the release of convicted axe murderer Ramil Safarov and condemning Azeri President Aliyev's decision to pardon, promote, and glorify Safarov for his heinous murder of Armenian Gurgen Markarian. On August 31, Hungary extradited Safarov -- who brutally murdered his colleague, Armenian officer Gurgen Markarian, in his sleep - to Baku to serve no less than 25 years of the life sentence imposed by the Hungarian justice system.
"I am aghast at the decision of President Aliyev to pardon Ramil Safarov for his heinous crime. I am outraged and disgusted by the reception that Safarov was given upon returning to Azerbaijan - a hero's welcome, a free apartment and a promotion. This blatant disregard for justice is unacceptable and I condemn Aliyev's actions in the strongest way possible. I am also troubled by Hungary's decision to extradite Safarov and believe that, given the breach of extradition agreement, Hungary must now demand the return of Safarov to complete his life-sentence," Menendez commented.
"At this moment, with relations in the Caucasus region as tense as ever, the highly deplorable actions of President Aliyev undermine the credibility of his government and his commitment to work toward a peaceful resolution of differences with Armenia. I call on President Aliyev to apologize to the family of Gurgen Markarian and for the international community to demand Safarov's return to Hungary to complete the remainder of his life sentence. It is clear that the Azeri government cannot be counted on to adhere to its international or bilateral obligations with respect to this matter."