Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday that he himself had made the decision to hand over the Azeri axe murderer to his native Azerbaijan, and the ensuing events had not been unexpected.
Orban told a press conference that “nothing happened after our decision we did not expect”.
The prime minister was responding to an article published by news website origo.hu, which said that Orban had ordered the transfer of Ramil Safarov with full knowledge that the convict would be released in his homeland sooner or later.
Orban said the government, including all relevant ministries, had been involved in the decision rather than the ruling Fidesz party. But ultimately he had approved the decision, “naturally, as always”.
He said the foreign ministry had foresaw exactly the type of consequences of such a decision.
Orban said in parliament on Monday that the government decision on Safarov’s repatriation had been fair and in line with international law. He rejected accusations that financial considerations had been in the background of the decision.
The main opposition Socialists have called for a full disclosure of all documents pertaining to Safarov’s transfer. These documents have been made available to members of a constitutional parliamentary committee. The ombudsman also asked for a comprehensive report.
The topic of the repatriation of the Azeri axe murderer to his native Azerbaijan was taken off the agenda of the parliamentary national security committee’s Tuesday session at the initiative of ruling Fidesz deputy Mate Kocsis.
The report on Ramil Safarov’s transfer was removed from the agenda of the session at Kocsis’s initiative on the ground that the affair did not carry any national security risk.
Kocsis said the committee would only deal with the issue if the foreign affairs and human rights committees discussed the transfer and identified any such risk.
After the session, Janos Lazar, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, rejected news website origo.hu’s information that the issue had been discussed at a recent Fidesz board session. He said that Prime Minister Viktor Orban had not given any kind of instruction to transfer Safarov, nor had he been in a position to.
Safarov, sentenced to life imprisonment for killing an Armenian in Budapest in 2004, was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan on August 31. On arrival in Baku, he was pardoned by the president and released. Armenia suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary later that day.