Azerbaijan detains leader of Armenian separatists in Karabakh

Azerbaijan detains leader of Armenian separatists in Karabakh

Weeks after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists in its Karabakh region, Azerbaijan detained the so-called president of the separatists, Arayik Harutyunyan, authorities announced on Thursday, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah. He is the latest top figure of the separatist group whose members either turned themselves in or were captured.

Harutyunyan stepped down from his post as leader of separatists shortly before the September 19 counterterrorism operation in Karabakh by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities said Harutyunyan was detained on suspicion of waging an aggressive war against Azerbaijan and war crimes. Photos and videos published by the Azerbaijani media outlets showed an unshaved Harutyunyan in handcuffs accompanied by Azerbaijani security officers.

Media outlets reported that Harutyunyan was captured in Stepakanert (Khankendi) of Karabakh. He was already wanted by Azerbaijan following the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where Baku successfully recaptured Karabakh from Armenian occupation after Harutyunyan acknowledged that he ordered missile attacks that killed many civilians in Azerbaijan’s Ganja. Following the attacks, Azerbaijan sought an international arrest warrant for Harutyunyan.

Earlier, Azerbaijani authorities detained Arkady Gukasyan and Bako Sahakyan, two former “presidents” of separatists and their “parliamentary speaker” David Iskhanyan.