Budapest Case - the history of the murder of Gurgen Margaryan
Lt. Gurgen Margaryan
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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.

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The Hungarian judge sentenced Ramil Safarov to life imprisonment without the right to apply for parole for the next 30 years. According to the court's decision Safarov is not mentally ill, he was able to assess the consequences of his act.


Hayk Demoyan—the official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia at the trial of Ramil Safarov—reports from Budapest.

The fifth hearings on the case of the murder of Gurgen Margaryan—Armenian officer hacked to death almost two years ago by his Azerbaijani classmate Ramil Safarov during the NATO-sponsored English language courses—were resumed today in Budapest, Hungary. The results of the third psychiatric examination of the defendant which was set to clear the contradictions between the first examination and the second one were scheduled to be announced today. However the third examination was carried out so unprofessionally that the judge Andrash Vashkuti expressed his indignation and threatened to impose sanctions against the expert. According to the results of the latest examination, the defendant was in “a condition close to the state of irresponsibility”.

The judge discarded the results of the third examination and scheduled another one. Also, as per request by the prosecution two more witnesses are to be summoned for the next hearings: an employee of the military school where the murder was committed, and another student of the language courses. The defense again pledged to conduct an interrogation of the Azerbaijani witness (the second Azerbaijani officer who had participated in the courses) in Baku claiming that he was incapable of visiting Budapest. But this pledge was also refused by the judge. The preliminary eye witness account of the Azerbaijani eye witness that he provided immediately after the murder was read instead.

The hearings to be resumed on March 7th, 2006.

Representatives of the Armenian community of Budapest, as well as some Azerbaijani students from the Central European University were present during the trial.


It has been 19 months since the death of Lt. Gurgen Margarian. An Armenian citizen participating in English-language courses run within the framework of NATO-sponsored Partnership for Peace program in Budapest, Hungary, he was hacked to death with an axe by a fellow Azerbaijani classmate Ramil Safarov. Since then the representatives of Azerbaijan have been doing everything possible to showcase the murderer as someone suffering post-traumatic syndrome because of his childhood experiences during the war in Nagorno Karabakh 1991-1994. (As it was later discovered Ramil Safarov’s family had left their native village long before there was any fighting there).

On September 27th, 8:30 AM the hearings were resumed on the trial of Ramil Safarov in the Capital court of Budapest under the chairing of Hungarian judge Andras Vaskuti.

The trial began with reading the text of interrogation of the eyewitness Saulus Paulus of Lithuania. He was the roommate of Hayk Makuchyan—the second Armenian officer on whose life Ramil Safarov unsuccessfully attempted. Next, Mr. Makuchyan himself testified. He answered the questions of the judge and of the defense attorneys. Also, for the first time Mr. Makuchyan had a chance to direct his questions to the defendant in person; however the latter refused to answer any of the questions addressed to him by the Armenian officer.

Then two Hungarian psychiatrists who had conducted two consecutive psychiatric examinations of the defendant presented their conclusions. The first one, who examined the Safarov only four days after the murder, convincingly opposed to any claim of her opponent that Safarov had been suffering from post-traumatic syndrome when he killed his victim. The latter claim is part of the strategy that the defense has undertaken in efforts to reduce the punishment of the defendant.

For the third time Anar Rauf Aliyev, another Azerbaijani officer who had been participating the NATO-sponsored program along with Safarov, was not present at the trial. Instead a letter by the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Hungary Hasan Hasanov was presented to the court claiming that the eyewitness had difficulty communicating due to a speech disorder. The judge expressed his discontent and required an official document confirming Aliyev’s health problems to be presented instead.

Finally, the court decided to arrange the third psychiatric examination of the defendant, which should bring its preference toward the outcome of either the first or the second examinations. The trial is scheduled to be resumed on December 15th, 2005.


According to an article titled "Azerbaijani officer with an axe is of epileptic, fanatical type" ( Epileptoid, fanatikus alkat az azeri fejszés tiszt ) published in one of the largest Hungarian internet news portals, Hungarian experts described Ramil Safarov as an antisocial, disharmonic and instable person, yet not suffering from any kind of mental illness or from post traumatic syndrome.

Safarov's mind was clear when he committed the murder of Lt. Gurgen Margaryan and he was motivated by hatred and revenge. Hungarian court rejected Safarov's defense plea to include Azerbaijani experts for the next psychiatric test of the defendant, however Azerbaijani experts were allowed to be present as observers.


In 8:30 in the Capital court of Budapest the hearings on Gurgen Margaryan murder were resumed. During the hearings two Hungarian specialist in psychiatry presented their resolutions on the mental health of Ramil Safarov. Both of them claimed that Ramil Safarov has very low intellectual abilities, but he is absolutely mentally healthy. As they claimed any mentions of the war memories war and suffer is groundless since it is not serious enough reason to commit such a crime. Also they pointed out that Safarov's mental stability was also tested in Azerbaijan before his entering into military service.

The representatives of the Armenian embassy in Vienna, as well as the Armenian community of Hungary were present in the court. From the Azerbaijani side there were three students of the Central European University present, a diplomatic representative, as well as Tatyana Chaladze, member of Coordination Committee for defending the rights of R. Safarov. The diplomatic representative of Turkish embassy also attended the hearings.

Anar Rauf Aliyev, the second officer from Azerbaijan and a witness was not present during the trial. Azerbaijani representatives claimed he has been suffering from a serious head injuries since September 2004, and at this moment is in Turkey to continue his health rehabilitation.

During the trial, Azerbaijanis tried to disseminate propagandistic materials (a VHS tape, books) but Armenian side promptly protested against such initiatives through the persecutor. Judge Andrash Vaskuti demanded to refrain from such actions, saying that all materials relating to Karabakh conflict will not be considered during the case, and will not have any impact on the final resolution.

The hearings were postponed until May 10 or September 27.