An Azerbaijani teenager was released from custody and repatriated on Thursday one week after crossing into Nagorno-Karabakh for still unclear reasons.
A Karabakh commission dealing with prisoners of war and civilian captives said the 15-year-old Javid Mammadov was sent back home through the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around the disputed territory. The commission said field representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assisted in the handover described by it as a gesture of good will.
ICRC sources in Baku cited by Azerbaijani news agencies confirmed the information. They said Mammadov assured Red Cross officials in Stepanakert before the repatriation that he wants to return home.
According to the Azerbaijani media, Mammadov is a resident of the Terter district located just northeast of Karabakh. His father is said to be a deputy chief of the local traffic police.
Residents of Armenian and Azerbaijani border settlements periodically cross the heavily fortified “line of contact” and the internationally recognized Armenian-Azerbaijani border in disputed circumstances. At least four Armenian civilians have ended up in Azerbaijani territory so far this year.
One of them, the 33-year-old Karen Petrosian, was pronounced dead on August 8 the day after being detained in an Azerbaijani village across the cross. The Azerbaijani military claimed that he died of “acute heart failure.” The Armenian government believes, however, that Petrosian was murdered or beaten to death.
A 77-year-old resident of another Armenian border village, Mamikon Khojoyan, died in May three months after being detained on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier in similar circumstances. Doctors in Yerevan said Khojoyan suffered serious injuries during his month-long captivity.