States of denial

Backgrounder: Repatriation and release of jailed Azeri murderer threatens to reignite frozen conflict, raises questions of Hungarian realpolitik

Hungary’s government was again in diplomatic hot water this week following the transfer last Friday of convicted murderer Ramil Sahib Safarov home to Azerbaijan. Upon arrival in Baku, the soldier was pardoned by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, promised eight years’ back pay, promoted to major and feted as a national hero.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s conservative government insists that it had received Azerbaijan’s assurance that Safarov would serve the remainder of his 30-year jail term in an Azeri prison. Both Hungary and Azerbaijan have denied that there was any backroom deal involved in the handover.

(Photo: Nato)