January 14, 2022 - 16:36 AMT
Azerbaijan returns Armenian civilian kidnapped earlier

The Azerbaijani military kidnapped an Armenian civilian on Friday, January 13 in the southern province of Syunik and transferred the man to Russian peacekeepers later in the day.

Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan reported earlier that the man, a shepherd named Surik Matevosyan, was leading a flock of sheep to pasture when he was abducted by Azerbaijani servicemen and dragged, alongside the animals, towards their positions.

According to a statement from Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, the civilian, "who got lost near the border", has been handed over to the Russian peacekeepers deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).

Tatoyan cited a witness as saying that the Azerbaijani troops, after noticing the shepherd, came down from the positions and dragged him back with them.

"The incessant crimes of the Azerbaijani armed forces against the civilians of the Republic of Armenia make it impossible for people to lead a normal life, deprive them of the opportunity to earn a living and engage in agriculture, and are causing social problems. This incident proves that there should be no Azerbaijani servicemen near the villages of the Republic of Armenia," the ombudsman's added.