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Armenia

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  1. Armenia Main Page
  2. Striving for Independence
  3. The Death of Markarian Leads to Political Unrest
  4. International Relations Have Ups and Downs
  5. Safarov Pardon Increases Tension with Azerbaijan and Hungary
  6. Sarkisyan Easily Wins Second Term
Safarov Pardon Increases Tension with Azerbaijan and Hungary

On August 31, 2012, Armenia ended diplomatic relations with Hungary over the return of Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan. Safarov was convicted of killing Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan in 2004 in Hungary. The Hungarian government released Safarov to Azerbaijan on the assumption that he would serve at least 25 years of his life sentence. Upon his arrival in Azerbaijan, Safarov was pardoned. Once news of the pardon hit, protestors in Armenia burned Hungarian flags and threw eggs at the Hungarian Embassy. Demonstrations were also held in Budapest.

Safarov was welcomed back to Azerbaijan. A lieutenant at the time of the murder, Safarov was promoted to rank of major, given eight years of back pay, and treated as a national hero in September 2012. His pardon and warm welcome threatened to break up the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a process that has kept the two countries from backsliding into violent feud over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

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