A video allegedly showing an Azerbaijani soldier beheading an elderly Armenian man surfaced online in recent days, the Armenian news site panarmenian.net reported on Tuesday.
“In the video, the old person is heard pleading for his life, asking the Azeri man wearing a military uniform to spare him, but to no avail. Dozens of videos … [allegedly showing] Azeri troops cutting the throats and ears of Armenians have been spreading online since the final days of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh,” according to the news outlet.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russian-brokered peace deal on November 9 to halt fighting over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which began on September 27. Ethnic Armenian separatists have ruled over Nagorno-Karabakh since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the region legally belongs to Azerbaijan. The separatists running the region are not affiliated with the government of Armenia and Armenia does not recognize their sovereignty, though both oppose Azeri control of the region. Under the terms of last month’s peace agreement, Armenia was forced to surrender some of the territories it held outside of Nagorno-Karabakh’s borders.
Dozens of photos and videos have surfaced on social media since the conflict ended allegedly depicting members of the Azerbaijan armed forces desecrating sacred Armenian sites such as Christian churches and graves.
According to panarmenian.net — an online news source for Armenian current events — on Tuesday, some of the recently surfaced videos allegedly “depict Azeri captors variously slapping, kicking, and prodding Armenian POWs [prisoners of war], and compelling them, under obvious duress and with the apparent intent to humiliate, to kiss the Azerbaijani flag.”
Yerevan on October 19 accused Azeri military members of beheading an Armenian soldier in Nagorno-Karabakh, photographing the man’s severed head, and sharing the photos on social media. The Armenian government’s Human Rights Defender’s office made the accusation after images began circulating online appearing to show the alleged beheading.
“Today, the Human Rights Defender received an alarming call certifying that Azerbaijani military forces beheaded an Armenian soldier several days ago,” the office said in a statement.
“On 16 October, at around 13PM [1 p.m. local time] a member of the Azerbaijani armed forces called the brother of an Armenian soldier and said that his brother is with them; they beheaded him and were going to post his photo on the Internet,” the statement revealed. “Afterwards, several hours later, the brother found the photo of on his killed brother’s social media page [sic].”
The Human Rights Defender’s office referred to the alleged culprits as “members of the Azerbaijani army.”
“There were two phone calls with Azerbaijani soldiers who used hate speech with intention to humiliate the Armenian killed soldier’s brother [sic]. As the latter informed the Human Rights Defender, the calls were made from the Armenian soldier’s phone number,” the office said.
The Armenian government officials denounced the incident as “cruel and terroristic.” They added that further evidence suggested the alleged beheading was not an isolated incident.