Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   16 December

Servicemen, prostitutes and shepherd – 400 arrested in Azerbaijan for conspiring with Armenian intelligence services

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 12, ARMENPRESS. Hundreds of people are arrested in Azerbaijan who are suspected of cooperation with the special services of Armenia, ARMENPRESS reports Azerbaijani meydan.tv informs.

New details have been published by Azerbaijani news outlets over the scandalous case launched in May regarding the spying for Armenia. Hundreds of people have been interrogated in the region of Aghdam being suspected in cooperation with Armenian special services. Dozens of servicemen have been arrested and interrogated, as well as one shepherd and civilians who are charged with state treason.

A former officer of the Azerbaijani army told in the sidelines of the investigation that a shepherd and his sheep are involved in the case. According to the source, the incident took place in Aghdam region, near the contact line.

“Early in the morning we suddenly heard someone was captured at the watch post. But it wasn't a soldier. Instead it was a shepherd who told us he was grazing his sheep. We reported it to our commander."

According to the soldier, the commander took one sheep, and then told the soldiers to leave the shepherd and the rest of the sheep alone.

The soldiers argued with the commander. They said the Armenian border watchers could see where the sheep traveled, and they would know there were no land mines in those spots. They told the commander he was endangering all his soldiers.

“The other side (Armenian soldiers) watch us just like we do. It’s simple: if there is a mine, either the sheep or the shepherd himself will be blown up. The Armenians are not going to shoot the shepherd. He and the sheep are giving them good information”.

Accusations of cooperating with the enemy were reported to a commander in a nearby military unit, and quickly an investigation began. It expanded from the original incident as hundreds of soldiers and citizens were held and interrogated. Some have been released; others are still awaiting trial on treason charges.

A local government official says rumors of treason spread quickly. “Imagine that you wake up in the morning, and you start hearing that a lot of your neighbors are working for Armenians," the official said. "You start to suspect everyone. The local people were horrified by these stories. People that you used to know for a long time, the people that you see everyday, accused of working for Armenia.”

The official said that in addition to soldiers, shepherds, taxi drivers and even prostitutes were arrested. Some of these civilians remain in jail along with some of the soldiers, awaiting trial on treason charges.

"A lot of people were arrested," the official said. “One person who was accused, Mehman Huseynov, was beaten to death by interrogators. His relatives wanted to bury him next to his father. But villagers protested, so he was buried outside the cemetery”.

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