All Armenians on this list were arrested/kidnapped after the trilateral ceasefire agreement that was signed on November 9, 2020. These illegal detentions actively impede a potential future peace in this region. Azerbaijan is holding the prisoners listed in the following pages illegally, some of whom have been tried without adequate representation and convicted also illegally.
Populated by ethnic Armenians, Nagorno-Karabakh broke (https://www.wilsoncenter.org/) away from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The disputed territory was self-governed for 30 years but continued to be internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh has never existed as a part of an independent Azerbaijan. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh enjoyed far more rights and freedoms than those who live under Azerbaijani rule.
On Sept. 19, 2023, an Azerbaijani offensive (https://www.crisisgroup.org/), the second in three years, set the stage for the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from their ancestral land of Nagorno-Karabakh. Within 10 days, over 120,000 Armenians fled (Council of Foreign Relations) Nagorno-Karabakh and found refuge in neighboring Armenia.
During the Sep-Nov 2020 and Sep 2023 wars against Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani authorities detained some 200 Armenian civilians and military personnel. Dozens remain in Azerbaijani jails illegally, some awaiting trials and others Illegally convicted to lengthy jail terms. Additionally, more than 80 Armenian soldiers and civilians remain missing.
Political Prisoners: According to Azerbaijan’s prosecutor general, 300 (https://tvpworld.com/) former leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh are wanted (https://www.france24.com) for alleged war crimes committed during the wars unleashed on the enclave. Eight of these leaders were detained (https://eurasianet.org/), humiliated in front of cameras, and transferred to prisons in Baku.
Hostages: Moreover, an unknown number of Armenian civilians were taken hostage since 2020 by Azerbaijani security personnel in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and within the borders of Armenia. Seven are now confirmed to be in Azerbaijani jails.
Prisoners of War: Additionally, 36 Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) remain in Azerbaijani prisons. The 2020 war POWs should have been released in accordance with the 10 November 2020 ceasefire agreement (https://www.commonspace.eu/news/document-full-text-agreement-between-leaders-russia-armenia-and-azerbaijan), article 8. Now that both wars are over, all POWs from must be freed immediately in accordance with the Geneva Conventions (https://www.ohchr.org/).
These political prisoners, POWs and hostages, some of whom have been convicted illegally to lengthy jail terms in Azerbaijan, must be freed immediately in accordance with international law, and at the very least as a confidence-building measure so that negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan can produce results. The international community, in particular the U.S., Russia and EU mediators, as well as others, have an obligation to persuade Azerbaijan to free them unconditionally and immediately.