March 11, 2021 – 15:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has said “at least several hundreds” of Armenian are still being held captive in Azerbaijan, more than four months after the completion of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
After returning several dozen prisoners of war to the Armenian side, Azerbaijan does admit it is holding hundreds of and says they are “terrorist-saboteurs” who should go on trial. But Tatoyan is convinced Baku is using the detainees as a bargaining chip while the exact contours of the new post-war front lines are hammered out, AFP said in an article on Thursday, March 11.
“I know that at least we have there several hundreds, I would say, being held captive in Azerbaijan,” Tatoyan said,
“Azerbaijan is using this issue of prisoners of war to put pressure on our government, our state, and to use the issue during negotiations.”
“By doing this they cause mental suffering to our society, to our people. They play with the emotions of our people and especially of the families.”
Several dozen Armenian POWs have returned from Azerbaijan so far, although Armenian officials say many more people were being held in Baku. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev claims, however, that persons being kept in Baku are not prisoners of war but “terrorists and saboteurs”. Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.