Conflicts & War

Azerbaijan reports of several arrests of Nagorno-Karabakh high-ranking officials

Baku, Sept. 29 (EFE) – The State Border Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan reported Friday that several high-ranking officials of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have been arrested since Sept. 27.

The list includes former Defense Minister Levu Mnatsakaniyan, Karabakh Army Major General Davit Manukyan, and former Prime Minister Ruben Vardanyan, who join the list of high-ranking officials reported as detained on Thursday.

On Friday, Azerbaijan arrested the former defense minister between 2015 and 2018, Levu Mnatsakaniyan, when he tried to cross into Armenia, the State Border Service reported.

The detainee, born in 1965, was arrested at the Azerbaijani border checkpoint in the Lachin Corridor, the only communication route between Nagorno-Karabakh and southern Armenia.

He is accused of illegally crossing the Azerbaijani border when he arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On the 27, Azerbaijan also detained the First Deputy Commander of the Karabakh Army, Major General Davit Manukyan, the State Border Service reported on Friday.

“As ‘First Deputy Commander of the Defense Army of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,’ he participated in the organization and leadership of illegal armed groups on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the supply of weapons, explosives and communications equipment,” Baku said.

Manukyan was also involved in “organizing terrorist attacks with the help of terrorist groups,” Azerbaijan’s State Border Service said.

Also on the 27, Ruben Vardanyan, former prime minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, was arrested.

Vardanyan is in preventive detention and faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of financing terrorism, creating illegal armed groups and illegally crossing the Azerbaijani border.

He was the first former high-ranking Karabakh official to be arrested by Azerbaijan after the lightning military operation that allowed the country to fully regain Nagorno-Karabakh.

The military campaign led to the surrender and disarmament of separatist forces and the eventual dissolution of the self-proclaimed republic.

Shortly after Vardaniyan, the former head of Nagorno-Karabakh’s security council, Vitali Balasanyan, was arrested as he tried to cross into neighboring Armenia.

Also on Thursday, former Karabakh Foreign Minister and current presidential advisor David Babanyan decided to surrender to Azerbaijan after being placed on Baku’s “blacklist”. EFE


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