On 5 October 2010, Mr Manvel Saribekyan, citizen of Armenia, died in captivity in Azerbaijan. A shepherd from a border village in Armenia, Mr Manvel Saribekyan was captured by Azerbaijani forces at the border, while herding his livestock. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence and the Military Prosecutor have reported that Manvel “committed suicide”.
Earlier, Azerbaijan disseminated video footage in which signs of violence could be seen on Manvel.
We express our shock over the death of Manvel Saribekyan and strongly condemn the authorities of Azerbaijan for this tragedy. Their actions represent a blatant violation of international humanitarian law, in particular Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Azerbaijan is a Party.
We urge Azerbaijan to conduct a full and transparent investigation, with the involvement of international experts, to bring to justice officials responsible for the death of Manvel Saribekyan.
The official version of Azerbaijan that Manvel Saribekyan committed suicide is a cynical attempt to avoid responsibility for his death, whereas Azerbaijan and its officials bear direct responsibility for the life and safety of the captive.