BUDAPEST, HUNGARY February 19, 2004. Armenian citizen Gurgen Margaryan,
26 years old, was hacked to death while asleep by Ramil Safarov,
a Lieutenant of the Azerbaijani Army. Both were participants of
an English language training course within the framework of the
NATO-sponsored “Partnership for Peace” program held in Budapest,
Hungary. The murder occurred at 5 o'clock in the morning, while
the victim was asleep.
This is how Gurgen's Hungarian roommate, Kuti Balash , remembers
the evening before the murder: “Me and Gurgen were sharing a room
at the dormitory. The evening before the murder I was watching a
football match between Armenia and Hungary, while Gurgen was sitting
at the desk preparing his homework. He just came back from the gym”.
Staying with them on the same floor were participants of different
nationalities, including Ramil Safarov and another Azerbaijani officer.
Balash mentions that there were no conflicts among any members of
the group. The subject of international conflicts was discussed
only once, during the first day of getting acquainted, but nobody
spoke of it afterwards.
On the evening of February 18th Balash had tea and went to bed,
as he had fever, while Gurgen Margaryan kept on studying. Around
9:30 p.m. Margaryan went to visit another program participant from
Armenia—Hayk Makuchyan—who was staying in another room.
Balash does not remember when Gurgen came back, but early in the
morning he felt that someone turned on the light. He thought it
was Gurgen returning to the room, but after hearing some muffled
sounds, he turned his head away from the wall and saw the Azerbaijani
officer standing by Gurgen’s bed, with a long axe in his hands.
“By that time I understood that something terrible had happened
for there was blood all around. I started to shout at the Azerbaijani
urging him to stop it. He said that had no problems with me and
would not touch me, stabbed Gurgen a couple of more times and left.
The expression of his face was as if he was glad he had finished
something important. Greatly shocked, I ran out of the room to find
help, and Ramil went in another direction”.
What happened next testifies that the murder had been planned in
advance. It was not a crime of a personal motivations between Gurgen
and Ramil. Immediately after murdering Lieutenant Margaryan, Ramil
Safarov went to the room of the second Armenian officer, to finish
with him as well.
Later in an interview to the “Iravunk” Armenian newspaper Hayk
Makuchyan revealed that neither Gurgen nor him had had any contacts
with any of the Azerbaijani officers. “They were not of a communicative
type. Usually, after classes, they went straight to their rooms”,
That morning, after committing his first murder, Ramil went to
Makuchyan's room with an intention to kill him. In the corridor,
meeting a classmate from Uzbekistan who came out of the room after
hearing suspicious noise, Ramil offered him to come and assist him
in killing the second Armenian. The Uzbek tried to calm the murderer
down but did not manage to stop him. Afterwards everyone confessed
that they were frightened to approach Ramil with a blood-stained
axe closer than at three meters. Approaching Makuchyan’s room, Ramil
tried to open it by shaking its handle. As Makuchyan confessed,
he usually had a habit of locking doors, unlike Gurgen, but that
night he forgot to do it, and the door was locked by his Lithuanian
roommate. Being unable to open the door, Ramil started to shout
out Makuchyan's name in a threatening voice. Half asleep, Hayk went
towards the door to open it, but his Lithuanian roommate managed
to save him for the second time. He stopped Hayk from opening the
door, as he thought that there was a real threat in Safarov's voice
and that he might be armed. To make sure, he phoned to another Lithuanian
who lived at the same corridor asking him to check whether Safarov
was armed and what was going on at all. Meanwhile, Safarov went
to look for Hayk in the room of the Serbian and the Ukrainian roommates,
showing them the blood-stained axe and stating that he thirsted
for nobody's blood but Armenian. Hayk Makuchyan was told afterwards,
that Ramil ran to the room of another Azerbaijani officer, told
him something in Azerbaijani, and then ran and stabbed the door
of Makuchyan’s room three times with an axe. By that time the second
Lithuanian and the police approached. Being detained by the Hungarian
police, Safarov confessed he had committed a murder. He also promised
to kill another Armenian as soon as he was set free. His revenge
was not against anyone particular, but against the whole Armenian
Budapest Police Maj. Valter Fulop told reporters that Safarov committed
murder with unusual cruelty. The victim's head was practically severed
from his body.
Police said a political motive for the murder was among the possibilities
being considered and were also looking into how the suspect obtained
the weapons of murder. Hayk Makuchyan states that six days before
the murder the whole group of the officers at the English Language
course was taken to the excursion to Lake Balaton. None of the Azerbaijani
officers was present. Afterwards it became known that on that particular
day the axe was bought in one of Budapest stores.
The question if there were any conflicts between Margarian and
Safarov was raised during the conversation with the press secretary
of Hungarian police. The police questioned all students living on
that floor of the dormitory. There was nothing said about any conflicts
between Armenian and Azerbaijani officers. On the first days of
the courses the Armenians greeted their Azerbaijani colleagues ex
comitate but received no reply. Everyone knew there were no contacts
At present Ramil Safarov is held in prison in Hungary. His case
will be dealt with on 8th of February, 2005.