“We try to overcome the existing double standards with respect to the Azerbaijani hostages” – Ahmad Shahidov talked to CBC Azerbaijan Television

It is already 3 years that Azerbaijani hostages Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev have been taken hostage by armenian armed forces. On July 11, 2014, three Azerbaijani civilians – Dilgam Asgarov, Shahbaz Guliyev and Hasan Hasanov went to Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan to visit their relatives graves and were taken captive by armenians. Hasan Hasanov, who was subjected to inhumane treatment and torture, was murdered on July 14, 2014. Armenians did not want to give Hassan’s body… Again, as a result of the strong political will of the Azerbaijani state and the persistent pressure of the international community, the armenians returned his body.

Unfortunately, two Azerbaijani civilians – Dilqam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev are still in armenian captivity. During this period, armenians set up a fake trial on hostages and sentenced Shahbaz Guliyev to 22 years and Dilgam Asgarov to life imprisonment. This process is a gross violation of all human dignity, international law and fundamental human rights in general and it is a clear evidence of the terrorist nature of the armenian state. Because these people – Dilgam and Shahbaz are Azerbaijanis, the territories they have visited are officially Azerbaijani lands, they move from one point to another within the borders of Azerbaijan, which has been accepted by the international community, and they have not violated the Azerbaijani-Armenian borders.

Over the past three years, intensive work has been carried out in various directions for the liberation of Azerbaijani hostages. First of all, President Ilham Aliyev raise this issue and calls on the world community in all his meetings and speeches. This is particular important. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons, also operate intensively on this issue.

The main responsibility in this issue lies with the Azerbaijani civil society. In his interview to CBC Azerbaijan Television, Head of Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights Dr. Ahmad Shahidov said that from the very first days, the representatives of Azerbaijani civil society are consistent in delivering this issue to the world community, especially to international human rights organisations: “So far, at all OSCE events, we had direct or indirect speeches on this issue. During our meetings in Europe, we raised a question about Dilgam and Shahbaz. At international conferences held in Qatar, where the leaders of the main Arab countries attended, we have called on the Muslim world to support our hostages. There were protest actions in front of the headquarters of various international organisations. In particular, we protested in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, in front of the Red Cross in Geneva, and in front of the Armenian Embassy in Warsaw. We have provided information to the diplomatic corps in Baku in several languages.

In addition, last year, with the support of the Reformist Youth Public Union, we prepared and publicised the film “World must not be silent!”. The film tells about Azerbaijani hostages and their way of life, about the work done for their releasing and appealed to the world community. We are working on this issue today as well. This issue will be brought up again at the OSCE Summit in Poland in September. We even plan to take Kurdoglu, son of Dilgam Asgarov to the OSCE meetings and let the European diplomats communicate his messages alive. By using all available means, we are trying to release our hostages.

Unfortunately, the opposing party is the Armenian government that supports terrorism and murder at the state level. It is a criminal regime that does not accept any international laws and conventions. On the other hand, the double standards in the world also play its part. Despite the work we do at the international level, the world community, especially the European institutions, does not want to see this painful reality. Nevertheless, we continue our work and we are trying to fulfill our duties in line with the road map of the Azerbaijani state and the President. I think that as a result of the political will and determination of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani hostages Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev will soon be released. We have witnessed it many times. I think the armenian authorities remember the example of Ramil Safarov, Mubariz Ibrahimov and Chingiz Gurbanov.”

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