By Pablo Gorgondi, Associated Press Writer
(AP) - An Azerbaijani officer who hacked to death an Armenian classmate during a NATO course has confessed the murder and said he planned it as revenge for a 1992 Armenian assault of Azerbaijanis, police said Thursday.
Lieutenant Ramil Safarov of Azerbaijan on Feb. 19 used an ax to hack Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian of Armenia to death by in a dormitory for participants of a NATO Partnership for Peace English language course in Budapest. At the time, police said the murder had been committed with "unusual cruelty" and that Safarov had also tried, unsuccessfully, to enter the room of another Armenian with the intention of killing him, too.
A police statement released Thursday said Safarov had confessed to committing the murder and claimed that the long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia was at the root of his act. "There was no concrete grievance between the killer and the victim before the (murder)," the Budapest police said.
Safarov initially had planned to kill an Armenian on Feb. 26 - the anniversary of a 1992 Armenian assault which killed dozens of Azerbaijanis in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan - even before coming to Hungary for the NATO course, police said. He told police he later decided to commit the crime ahead of the anniversary date because "the presence of the Armenians was getting on my nerves."
Police investigators have recommended that the Budapest Attorney General's office charge Safarov with premeditated murder carried out with unusual cruelty and with vile motives and aims.