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Three Abducted Students Returned to Armenia Amid Growing Genocide Concerns Over Illegal Checkpoint

Three Abducted Students Returned to Armenia Amid Growing Genocide Concerns Over Illegal Checkpoint

Three Armenian students from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) who were abducted from an illegal checkpoint in the Lachin corridor on August 28 have been safely returned to the Armenian side. The operation to return the students was carried out by the Azerbaijani side on September 7 at approximately 5:45pm, and it was conducted with the involvement of Russian peacekeepers. The trio, identified as Alen Sargsyan, Vahe Hovsepyan, and Levon Grigoryan, was subsequently transported to the Republic of Armenia.

This positive outcome was confirmed by Gegham Stepanyan, Artsakh's Human Rights Defender, who played a pivotal role in facilitating their release. Stepanyan informed the public about the successful transfer and expressed his gratitude to all parties involved in ensuring the safe return of the abducted students.

The Human Rights Defender's Office of Artsakh has undertaken the responsibility of investigating the circumstances surrounding the abduction, the treatment the three men endured during their arbitrary and illegal imprisonment in Azerbaijan, and their current health conditions. This investigation aims to shed light on the ordeal faced by these students and provide crucial insights into the situation.

Stepanyan, while addressing the media, drew attention to the broader implications of the illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint near the Hakari bridge. He stated, "The abduction and arbitrary imprisonment of civilians, particularly Vagif Khachatryan, Rashid Beglaryan, Alen Sargsyan, Vahe Hovsepyan, and Levon Grigoryan, and the initiation of false and fabricated criminal cases by Azerbaijan unequivocally prove that the illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint located near the Hakari bridge is a direct and undeniable threat to Artsakh civil society, and it poses a grave danger to the physical existence and fundamental rights of the population."

According to Stepanyan, this checkpoint has been transformed into a tool used by Azerbaijani authorities for criminal arbitrariness, allowing them to arbitrarily abduct civilians and deprive them of their freedom. Moreover, it perpetuates a siege-like situation that has left 120,000 people in Artsakh without humanitarian access and the ability to protect their basic human rights.


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