The statement came from Fuad Alasgarov, Chief of the Department for Coordination of Law Enforcement Agencies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, commenting on the statements of the press services for the US National Security Council and the US Department of State concerning the transfer of the Azerbaijani citizen Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan and his subsequent pardon:
He noted that Hungary and the Republic of Azerbaijan have ratified the Convention adopted within the Council of Europe in 1983.
According to this Convention, a person convicted in one of the Contracting Parties may be transferred to another Contracting Party in order to serve his sentence. The Convention does not even prevent the transfer of a sentenced person immediately after his judgment became final.
Both Hungary and the Republic of Azerbaijan fully complied with the Convention when dealing with the issue of Safarov’s transfer. Azerbaijani side has provided all the necessary legal information related to continuation of the enforcement of the sentence. Based on this information, the Hungarian side has given their consent to Ramil Safarov’s transfer.
As to Safarov’s pardon, it is necessary to note that the Hungarian court in its judgment prohibited only the sentenced person’s release on parole within 30 years from the date of pronouncement of the judgment. This restriction did not concern the possibility of pardon or amnesty for the sentenced person.
The pardon for Ramil Safarov was line with the Constitution and laws of Azerbaijan, and the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The Convention provides that each Party may grant pardon, amnesty or commutation of the sentence in accordance with its Constitution or other laws.
According to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the power to pardon belongs exclusively to the President. The penal legislation of Azerbaijan provides that the sanction of a person sentenced to life imprisonment, may be replaced by way of pardon with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years.
Ramil Safarov has been in custody since February 19, 2004, that is, he has served more than eight and a half years of his sentence. The act of pardon should be considered as the replacement of the sentenced person’s life imprisonment with the sanction of imprisonment equal to the term already served by him. Ramil Safarov was accordingly released.
Thus, both the procedure for Ramil Safarov’s transfer to Azerbaijan and his subsequent pardon were in full conformity with the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and the domestic legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.