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European Parliament calls for ‘immediate’ and ‘unconditional’ release of Armenian prisoners

20 May 2021
EU Parliament.

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the Azerbaijani government to release all Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives.

A majority of European Parliament members, 607 of 688, voted in support of the resolution. 

The resolution text referred to ‘worrying reports’ that ‘approximately 200 Armenians’ are being held in Azerbaijani captivity — Azerbaijan has only acknowledged that it has 72 Armenians in captivity, who officials claim are not POWs but terror suspects. 

‘The release of all Armenian detainees is essential for building confidence and trust and would be an important political gesture’, noted High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in a speech that was delivered on his behalf during the proceedings. 

According to the resolution, the European Parliament ‘demands the immediate and unconditional release of all Armenian prisoners, both military and civilian, detained during and after the conflict, and that Azerbaijan refrains from making arbitrary detentions in the future’.  

The resolution also stressed that there’s a need for new efforts ‘to build confidence between both countries and make progress towards sustainable peace’. 

The resolution also mentioned the ‘Park of Military Trophies’,  which was opened in Baku in April and displays Armenian military equipment alongside wax mannequins ‘depicting dead and dying Armenian soldiers and models of Armenian POWs’.

The park was condemned on the grounds that it may be perceived as ‘a glorification of violence’ and is ‘thereby perpetuating the atmosphere of hatred and contradicting any official statements on reconciliation’.

Since the end of the hostilities on 9 November, 73 Armenian prisoners have been repatriated while Armenia has released all Azerbaijani POWs captured during the war. 

Two Syrian nationals captured by Armenia during the war remain in the country and have been convicted of several charges, including terrorism — the two men have admitted to being mercenaries, but have denied all other charges against them.  

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