Azerbaijan returns detained Armenian serviceman, says Defense Ministry

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BAKU, June 8./TASS/. Armenian serviceman Arthur Kartanyan detained on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border early on Tuesday, has been handed over to the Armenian side, his participation in a subversive group was not confirmed, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported.

“Investigation has shown that Armenian Armed Forces serviceman Arthur Kartanan lost his way and crossed the border with Azerbaijan by mistake,” it said.

“Kartanyan’s confused answers during the questioning and his behavior raised doubts as to the detainee’s being part of a sabotage group. Considering this, he was handed over to the Armenian side,” the Defense Ministry said.

The ministry called this decision to return the captured Armenian serviceman “a show of humanism” given that he “committed no crimes against the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

The Armenian serviceman who was captured on Tuesday by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces found himself on the territory controlled by Baku because of fog and is not a saboteur, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported earlier in the day.

“On June 8, a contract soldier, private of the Armenian Armed Forces A. Katanyan disoriented because of the fog, found himself on the territory controlled by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,” the ministry said. “A statement from the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that Katanyan is a saboteur is not true,” it stressed.

On May 27, Azerbaijan announced the capture of six Armenian servicemen attempting to cross the border for a sabotage mission. The Armenian side confirmed the capture, but underscored that they were undertaking engineering works near the border in the Gegharkunik province. Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called it an abduction of servicemen. Later, Yerevan contacted the European Court of Human Rights over the incident.