Nalbandian: Racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance grossly violate human dignity and give rise to tensions within and between societies. That is why the fight against them became one of the main priorities of our chairmanship.
by Marianna Mkrtchyan
A memorial service for Armenian Officer Gurgen Margaryan, murdered by Azerbaijani Ramil Safarov, was held at St. Hovahannes Mkrtich Church in Paris. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Armenian Embassy in France, the Representation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, and a number of members of the Armenian Community of France, the Armenian Foreign Ministry told ArmInfo.
Armenian Ambassador to France Vigen Chitechyan, the leaders of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France also attended the ceremony.
After the service the participants marched to the Yerevan Park in Paris, where they laid wreaths at the Komitas Statue on behalf of Armenians of Armenia, Artsakh and France. Services commemorating Gurgen Margaryan were offered in Armenian Churches of Marseille, Lyon and other cities.
On February 16 a memorial service for Gurgen Margaryan was held in Moscow. Leaders of the Armenian Union of Russia, the Russian-Armenian Cooperation NGO, the <Ararat> cultural Union, and a number of other guests attended the ceremony.
To recall, on February 19 2004, R. Safarov viciously axed sleeping G. Margaryan in Budapest. Both the officers were undergoing an English language course under the NATO PfP program. On April 13 2006 the First Instance Court of Budapest sentenced Safarov to life imprisonments without the right to pardon for 30 years. In February 2007 the Court of Appeal left the verdict unchanged. President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan decreed awarding Gurgen Margaryan with Gallantry Medal posthumously.
Later on 31 August Safarov was extradited to Azerbaijan, where the president pardoned and rewarded him. In fact, Armenia has severed its diplomatic relations and official ties with Hungary.