E-mail action: concerns over the recent death of Karen Petrosyan under Azerbaijani captivity

To Mr Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Copies: Mrs Epprecht Sarah (Head of Delegation in Armenia)
Mrs Zara Amatuni
Mrs.Duran Denise (Head of Delegation in Azerbaijan)
Ms Ilhana Huseynova

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres - online contact form -

The UNHCR Representative in Armenia - Christoph Bierwirth

Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks -

Amnesty International - online contact form -

Embassy of the United States in Azerbaijan - ,

Embassy of France in Azerbaijan - and also online contact form -

Embassy of Russia in Azerbaijan -

Communication Unit of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe -

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights -

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Spokesperson Thomas Rymer -

1) Council of Europe - Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights E-mail: - European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) E-mail: - (Mr) Markus Jaeger Head, National Human Rights Structures, Prisons and Police Division Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs E-mail: - Tatiana Termacic Head, Human Rights National Implementation Unit Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law E-mail: - (Mr) Mats Lindberg Head of the National Human Rights Structures Unit Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs E-mail: - European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) Secretariat of ECRI E-mail: ------------------------ 2) Organization for Securty and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights E-mail: - Conflict Prevention Centre, OSCE Secretariat E-mail: -------------------------- 3) European Union (EU) - European External Action Service (EEAS) - EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights: Mr Stavros Lambrinidis E-mail:

Subject: concerns over the death of Karen Petrosyan under Azerbaijani captivity

We are writing to express our grave concern over the recent death of Karen Petrosyan

under Azerbaijani captivity. We have serious reason to believe that his passing is due

not to “heart and lung failure,” as claimed by authorities in Baku, but rather torture and ill


By all independent accounts, Mr. Petrosyan was an innocent civilian who accidentally

crossed into Azerbaijani territory near his border village of Chinari on August 7.

From the outset, his detention was marred by violations of basic humanitarian norms

and disturbing signs of abuse. Images of him being dragged by two masked men in

army uniforms were immediately distributed by the Azerbaijani authorities (a gross

violation of Article 13, Section 2, of the Third Geneva Convention), with erroneous

claims that he was a member of an Armenian commando unit.

The next morning, Petrosyan was pronounced dead.

Sadly, this tragic case is not an isolated incident. Several innocent civilians taken

captive by Azerbaijan over recent years have suffered a similar pattern of abuse,

public humiliation, and even death. Captives such as Manvel Saribekyan and Mamikon

Khojoyan, to name two of the other most recent.

This track record of systematic abuse makes the carrying out of an effective,

independent investigation into the cause of Petrosyan’s death even more essential.

We turn to you to ensure that a proper autopsy and investigation into credible

allegations of violations is carried out. The autopsy should be witnessed and verified

by an international experts and the subsequent information and documentation of the

investigation should be made available in a timely manner to the authorities of the

Republic of Armenia.

We also urge you to use your good offices to ensure that Petrosyan’s remains are

immediately returned to Armenia in compliance with international law. It has been more

than 10 days since his death, with authorities in Baku yet to repatriate the body. We

suspect that this prolonged delay may well be in order to cover up evidence of torture

and abuse.

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