February 22, 2007 / 3:07 PM / 13 years ago

Azeri jailed for life in Hungary for killing Armenian

BUDAPEST, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A Hungarian appeal court upheld a life sentence on Thursday against an Azeri officer who killed an Armenian with an axe at a Budapest military academy in 2004.

Azeri officer Ramil Safarov Sahib entered the Armenian’s dormitory room and struck him repeatedly with an axe. Both were attending an English language course run under the auspices of NATO’s Partnership for Peace.

A lower court sentenced Sahib to life imprisonment on charges of premeditated murder with extreme cruelty.

"The first-degree court ruling has been upheld," said Gyorgy Felkai, spokesman of the Budapest Court of Appeal.

The judge was quoted by the Hungarian news agency MTI as saying Sahib killed the victim because he was Armenian.

Former Soviet republics Armenia and Azerbaijan are officially in a state of war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous territory inhabited mostly by Armenians, but recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan.

Some 35,000 people died in the conflict which began in 1988 and was frozen by a 1994 ceasefire.

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