Lithuanian Armed Forces Captain Saulius Paliulis has been awarded with Vazgen Sargsyan Medal of the Armenian Ministry of Defense for saving Armenian Officer Makuchyan in 2004, Armenia’s Ambassador to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia Tigran Mkrtchyan said in a Twitter post.
On 19 February 2004 Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov murdered Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan by decapitating him with an axe, as the two men were attending a NATO-sponsored English-language course in Budapest, and attempted to kill Makuchyan.
In April 2006 Safarov was found guilty of murder by the Budapest City Court, and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with the possibility of conditional release after 30 years.
The court found that Safarov had intended to kill two Armenian participants at the course. After the Court of Appeal upheld this judgment in February 2007, Safarov began serving his sentence in a Hungarian prison.
In August 2012 the Hungarian Minister of Justice approved Safarov’s transfer to Azerbaijan with a view to his serving his sentence there.
However, a few hours after Safarov was transferred on 31 August 2012, he was granted a pardon by the Azerbaijani President and set free. He was also promoted to major, awarded eight years’ salary arrears and offered a flat.