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Six months in captivity: chronicle of Ruben Vardanyan’s detention

Six months ago, the Azerbaijani authorities illegally arrested social entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan, when he tried to leave Artsakh for Armenia. Since then, voices in support of the philanthropist have been raised throughout the world. Politicians, journalists, public and religious figures from many countries are demanding his release.

Mirza Dinnayi, an Iraqi human rights activist and winner of the Aurora Humanitarian Award, called Vardanyan’s arrest a great blow to all people involved in human rights issues. In his opinion, the UN and other international organizations must concentrate their efforts on ensuring the philanthropist’s release.

Spanish MP Jon Inarritu also spoke in support of Ruben Vardanyan. He stated that Baku should release the social entrepreneur and other Armenian prisoners so that they can reunite with their families. This would be an important and necessary step for achieving reconciliation in the region, the politician added.

Jean-Christophe Buisson, deputy head of the oldest French newspaper Le Figaro, shared a photo with Ruben Vardanyan’s son and wrote that he supported his struggle for his father’s release. Buisson posted a photo with David Vardanyan on his X microblog.

According to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, official Yerevan is continuously working on the release of former Artsakh state minister Ruben Vardanyan and other Armenian prisoners. However, this process sometimes seems to be a Sisyphean struggle, he added.

Most recently, the situation regarding Ruben Vardanyan and other Armenian prisoners was discussed at a major conference of the European Parliament. One of its participants, Armenian Ambassador to Belgium Tigran Balayan, said that by refusing to release the prisoners of war, Azerbaijan violated the trilateral ceasefire statement it had signed.

Hierarchs of the Armenian Apostolic Church declared a mass violation of the legal rights of Artsakh Armenians. The AAC representatives called on the world community to give an adequate response to the events and take measures to free the captives.

It should be added that the Armenian prisoners, including Ruben Vardanyan, were once again visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Thanks to the ICRC representatives, the prisoners were able to communicate with their families again.