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MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
05:20 AM Beirut time
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Lebanese Armenians protest Hungary’s extradition of convicted killer
Lebanese Armenians protest outside the Hungarian Embassy in Beirut on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
Lebanese Armenians protest outside the Hungarian Embassy in Beirut on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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BEIRUT: Members of the youth wings of the three Armenian political parties in Lebanon held a sit-in Thursday in front of the Hungarian embassy in Sanayeh, Beirut, to protest Hungary’s extradition of a lieutenant in the Azerbaijani military to his country, after he served eight years of a life sentence for killing an Armenian serviceman in Budapest, the National News Agency reported.

The Tashnag, Hunchag and Ramgavar parties participated in the sit-in, while their officials parties met with the Hungarian Ambassador and handed him a memo protesting his government’s decision.

“The brutal murderer has been treated like a national hero since returning to Azerbaijian. This is a blatant violation of international justice and the rule of law in a clear case of homicide,” the memo read.

Protesters held aloft banners denouncing Hungary’s decision, which they said encourages Azerbaijani hatred of Armenians and violates international law.

On February 19, 2004, Azerbaijani army lieutenant Ramil Safarov used an axe to bludgeon to death Gurgen Margaryan, an officer in the Armenian army who was asleep at the Budapest military academy where both men were attending English-language courses organized by NATO.

Safarov was arrested and tried in a Hungarian court. In 2006, he was sentenced to life in prison.

On August 31, 2012, Ramil Safarov was extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was greeted as a hero. He was pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev, promoted to the rank of major and given a new apartment and money by the Azerbaijani defense ministry.

In 1988, in the waning days of the Soviet Union, fighting broke out between Armenians and Azeris over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting developed into a full-fledged war following the independence of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1990 and 1991, respectively, and lasted until 1994. The two countries still do not have diplomatic relations with each other.

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