The U.S. should back off its criticism of Azerbaijan's handling of the Safarov case

September 10, 2012

It is not clear why the Obama administration and its allies in Congress decided to express their misplaced "concern" regarding Hungary's extradition of Lt. Ramil Safarov to his native Azerbaijan ("Ax murderer's homecoming stokes Caucasus feud," Sept. 7).

It is not our place to tell two sovereign nations, which happen to be our allies, how they should carry out justice in their countries. After all, we keep Guantanamo Bay open, refuse to join the International Criminal Court and limit the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, among other things.

As a child, Mr. Safarov was ethnically cleansed by the Armenian army from the Khojaly region of Azerbaijan. He suffered great violence, persecution and horrors during the Armenian occupation of his country. Two of his relatives were massacred by the Armenian army in front of him.

So when he engaged in a deadly fight with an Armenian military officer it was against someone who represented everything that's wrong with today's world.

The Obama administration and Congress should instead take the courageous step of officially recognizing the Azerbaijani Genocide and the Khojaly Massacre — the biggest crime against humanity in the entire Caucasus during the second half of the 20th century.

That would assure that U.S. foreign policy has not been hijacked by the Armenian special interests that are bankrolling the statements of the Obama administration and Congress this election year.

Emil Israfilbek, Owings Mills

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