YEREVAN, March 12. /ARKA/. Professional boxer and nine-time world champion Vic Darchinyan has asked the world’s top athletes to support his call for the return of Armenian prisoners of war being held captive in Azerbaijan four months after the end of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
‘My country has a lot of serious problems nowadays and the most essential of them is getting our captives back to their motherland. I appeal to all the athletes of the world not to be indifferent and join my call for making Azerbaijani government to return our Armenian captives, who are being held like prisoners.
The war is over. Thousands of people have died, thousands of families are grieving, but there are soldiers who have survived and can still return home. I’m asking you to speak up, so that our Armenian captives are no longer locked up in Azerbaijan,’ Darchinyan said in a Facebook post.
Vic Darchinyan, a native of the Armenian town of Vanadzor, was a nine-time IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO world champion, an absolute world flyweight champion according to IBF, WBA and WBC versions.
So far, 70 Armenians, both civilians and soldiers, and 16 Azerbaijanis have been repatriated from both countries as part of exchanges between the two sides.
Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. However, more than two months after the fighting stopped, Azerbaijan still holds unknown dozens of Armenian prisoners of war.
The Armenian authorities decline demands to disclose the exact number of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan on the grounds that it is a state secret.
However, according to various sources, there are more than 140 names on the Armenian exchange list. The European Court of Human Rights said it has received requests concerning 228 Armenians held in Azerbaijani captivity. -0-