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groong: Over 5,000 Armenians Held Prisoner In Azerbaijan Were Subjected To Torture And Duress

YEREVAN, June 23 (Noyan Tapan). Over 5,000 Armenians who were
held prisoner in Azerbaijan in the period from 1989 to 1995 and
then repatriated used to be subjected to torture and maltreatment
humiliating human dignity. Many of them had appeared in the foreign
territory from the villages bordering on Azerbaijan. This was
said by Executive Director of the Fund Against Violation of Law
(FAVL) Larisa Alaverdian during a June 23 meeting dedicated to the
International Day of the United Nations in support of victims of
torture and violence. This day is observed in Armenia for the fourth
consecutive year and is immediately connected with the signing by the
country of the International Convention on Human Rights Protection
and the Convention Against Torture and Violence. As Larisa Alaverdian
said, currently the exact number of Armenians in Azeri captivity
is unknown. They are all presumed missing. There are as many as 947
names in this list. More specific data is provided by people who once
were prisoners in the territory of Azerbaijan or by non-governmental
organizations of that country cooperating with Armenian human
rights activists under international grant projects. According
to this information, at least a hundred people from this list
are alive, and there is also information about the whereabouts
of at least twenty people. Azeri authorities do not disclose such
information and persecute local human rights activists working on
these issues. According to Alaverdian, all those who returned from
captivity as well as their relatives need rehabilitation. As many as
620 people have undergone psychological and medical rehabilitation
at the FAVL Rehabilitation Center so far. Human rights activists
pay special attention to the situation in their own country where
torture and maltreatment serve as a tool for extracting evidence in
conducting investigations. Thus, in Alaverdian’s words, courts in
Armenia continue to accept evidence extracted through torture and
duress under circumstances humiliating human dignity. At the same
time, those who use violence and mistreat suspects and prisoners
effectively go unpunished. In its turn, the state does not adopt
legislative act regarding compensation due to be paid to the victims
of torture and violence.

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