“We have repeatedly responded to the completely baseless and false allegations made by the Armenian Foreign Ministry in connection with the events in Sumgayit. We emphasize once again that the bloody events of late February 1988 in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan SSR, were a premeditated and planned provocation against Azerbaijan,” said spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Leyla Abdullayeva as she responded to the media’s question on the interpretation of the statement of the Armenian Foreign Ministry on the events in Sumgayit.
Leyla Abdullayeva said: “We remind that the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case in connection with the incident, conducted an investigation, and identified the perpetrators of the riots and accomplices, as well as a total of 32 victims. We would like to note that 6 of the victims were Azerbaijanis. We would like to draw the attention of the Armenian Foreign Ministry to the fact that the perpetrator of the incident, Eduard Grigoryan, who led the march, killed six people and raped three women of Armenian descent, was an Armenian by nationality, and regarding him numerous testimonies of Armenians living in Sumgayit were collected. Eduard Grigoryan, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, was transferred to Armenia to serve his sentence and was later released.
As a result of the trial in connection with the events of February 27-29, 1988 in Sumgayit, 92 people were sentenced to imprisonment and one was sentenced to death. For comparison we would like to note that, in the late 1980s, no action was taken against those responsible for the deaths of 217 Azerbaijanis during the forced expulsion of Azerbaijanis from the densely populated regions of the Armenian SSR.
Armenia, which has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory for nearly 30 years, has committed numerous wars and crimes against humanity, including the Khojaly genocide, as part of its aggressive policy. However, none of the perpetrators of these crimes has been brought to justice.
We remind the Armenian Foreign Ministry that the Republic of Azerbaijan has put an end to decades of Armenian military occupation of part of the internationally recognized sovereign territory and ensured its territorial integrity. Instead of taking advantage of the new opportunities for cooperation and peace-building that are currently emerging in the region with the elimination of the occupation factor, making false, baseless and hostile statements demonstrates Armenia’s true intention.
As long as the Armenian government demonstrates an uncompromising position based on lies, unfortunately, the Armenian people will be deprived of peace and prosperity.”