Ramil Safarov was born on August 25, 1977 in the town of Jabrayil, former Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic of Soviet Union (now Azerbaijan Republic) where he finished middle school.

He is one of four brothers. Jabrayil was captured by Nagorno-Karabakh forces on August 26, 1993, and remains under control of Nagorno-Karabakh army as part of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Safarov's family fled to Baku in 1991. During a court hearing, Safarov recounted memories from the years of war, during which he had lost family members.

This, however, contradicted another version he told the court, where he stated that he was studying in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku and in Turkey from 1992 to 1996.[10] He continued his studies at Maltepe Military High School in İzmir and then at the Turkish Military Academy, graduating in 2000, after which he returned to Azerbaijan.

In January 2004, the 26-year-old Ramil Safarov, along with another officer from Azerbaijan, went to Budapest (Hungary), to participate in the three-month English language courses, organized by NATO's Partnership for Peace program for military personnel from different countries.

On February 19, 2004 broke into Margaryan's dormitory room at night and axed him to death while Margaryan was asleep.

n 2006, Safarov was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary with a minimum incarceration period of 30 years.

After his request under the Strasbourg Convention, he was extradited on August 31, 2012 to Azerbaijan, where he was greeted as a hero, pardoned by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev despite contrary assurances made to Hungary, promoted to the rank of major.

On October 2, 2012 married Shabnam Mammadova.

No children. By religion - Muslim.

Home Murder Conclusion of the medical examination Verdict of court Return of a hero Laurels of a hero Honor of officer Reward for Killing Letters of Appreciation Contacts
President Ilham Aliyev Heydar Aliyev Foundation SOCAR
Հայերեն English Русский
Murder топором национальный герой

"My job is to kill all [Armenians], because until they live we will suffer"

"…in another time in another place I would have done the same..."

"If there were more Armenians … I would commit the crime on all. However, this was the first and I didn't have the chance to prepare more punctually to commit this action"

"I feel sorry that I haven't killed any Armenian until now"

"…when they walked close to me they mumbled something in Armenian and laughed at me. That was the time when I decided that I will kill these two persons, the Armenians, I will cut their head off"

"My release is the triumph of justice"


Demonstration of the murder weapon

Ramil Safarov commenting on a video from the crime scene

Enlarged video frame

Video frame 2

Axe, the murder weapon

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Video 1

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Video 2

Senior Lieutenant Ramil Safarov, 26, and another officer from Azerbaijan arrived in Budapest in January 2004 to attend three-month English courses in the framework of the Partnership for Peace programme, organised by NATO for military officers from different countries. Two Armenian officers, Gurgen Margaryan, 25, and Hayk Makuchyan, were also taking part in the training. All the participants were accommodated in the hall of residence of the National Defence University of Hungary (Zrínyi Miklós Nemzetvédelmi Egyetem).*

Safarov bought an axe and a whetstone in a store on 18 February in the evening. He took them in a bag to his room in the accommodation building, where he sharpened the axe. He was alone in the room that evening, because his roommate, a Ukrainian officer, had departed home to take part in a relative's funeral.

On 19 February, at about 5 o'clock in the morning, Safarov went into the room where Margaryan and his Hungarian roommate, Kuti Balázs, were living; the door was left unlocked. While Margaryan was sleeping, he hit 16 times on his head and neck with the axe almost separating the head from the body. Waking up because of the noise, Balázs was shocked at the scene and started to shout at Safarov to stop. Then he ran out of the room after help. Meanwhile, Safarov went to Makuchyan's room with the axe. The latter's bedroom door, however, was locked, and Safarov started to shout out his name demanding to open it. Makuchyan was already on his way to open the door, when his roommate, an officer from Lithuania, stopped him. Then Safarov attempted to break the door with the axe, but the participants of the training from the neighbouring rooms had woken up by that time, and persuaded him to stop. Soon the Hungarian police, called by Balázs, arrived and arrested Safarov.

Ramil Safarov's testimony

R. Safarov (record of the first interrogation): "… I feel sorry that I haven't killed any Armenian. My army sent me to this training and being here I have to face the fact that two Armenian were learning with me and I have to say that because of personal effectiveness the feeling of animosity grow up in me. In the beginning we were greeting each other, rather to say they said hi to me, but I didn't accept it and curiosity in the whole thing was that when they walked close to me they were mumbled something in Armenian and laughed at me. That was the time when I decided that I will kill these two persons, the Armenians, I will cut their head off. … because of that laugh at me the feeling of animosity became bigger and bigger and that's why I decided that that day in the morning I kill both of them. That's why yesterday, at the 18th, around 19.00 I bought an axe near to Tesco at Nepstadion. I decided next to axe, because however I had a knife, I rather though I will not use that, because if I pierce them through by the knife, they may shout, shout for help, but if I hit their head by the axe, they loose their consciousness and will not be able to shout for help. … I would like to make a remark, that I also bought a honing stone for the axe and the knife… After this I did my English homework, I closed my door with key and starter to sharp, after that I went out to the hall to have a cigarette, in the bath. I was up till 5 a.m. and I haven't slept at all and then I grabbed the axe and I put the knife into my right pocket. The reason for choosing this early time, because according to my knowledge this is the time, when sleeping is the deepest, when they do not wake up for small noise…"

Why he decided to murder Gurgen first. "… the person I wanted to kill first is a muscular, more athletic person, and I decided to start with him.

From Safarov's interrogation record: "…The Armenian was lying to the left of the door. He wanted to open his eyes because of the light, but at that moment, I hit on the centre of his forehead with the blunt side of the axe… I delivered the first three blows trying not to make noise…"

Safarov (record of the first interrogation): "I appeared in the middle of the hall, where I was about to go, I tried to open the door, it opened, it wasn't close. I turned on the light and I saw the following things in the room: Entering the door on the left bed the Armenian was lying facing the wall. The Hungarian was on the right hand side bed, I didn't pay any attention the way he was lying. As I turned on the light the Armenian turned to his back, trying to open his eyes, but at that time I hit him at his forehead with the flat side of the axe. At that time Hungarian guy woke up and told me in English: 'Please, please, [unclear].' I told him this is not your business; this is the business of Armenians and Azerbaijans. After this I turned the axe to the sharp side and I afflicted to the middle of his neck, and I don't know where else, but I hit him on his leg too."

Interrogator: How many times did you hit with the axe?

Safarov: Three times on his neck and if I remember right with the flat side of the axe I hit on his face, at that time if I remember well [unclear] after hit on his arm and his leg. As I remember around 6-7 or maybe 8 could be the number of hits, but I do not really remember.

After Hungarian guy run out, I finished the hitting and left the room. When I went out then the plaintiff was still alive, but I know what I caused him is a death injury, because I almost separated his head from his body.

Interrogator: Did the victim, who you attacked, try to protect himself in any way?

Safarov: No, no, he didn't do anything, since he turned from his side after turning the light on to his back.

Interrogator: Did you drink anything, any alcohol?

Safarov: I never drink alcohol. I am Muslim and I ask you until I here take it into consideration.

During the first interrogation, Ramil Safarov told the interrogators, "It can be imagined that if I didn't have done this than in another time in another place I would have done the same. If there would have been more Armenians at school and if I would have the possibility I would not only try to kill two persons, but rather I would commit the crime on all. However this was the first and I didn't have the chance to prepare more punctually to commit this action… My job is to kill all [Armenians]…"

The testimony of the second Azerbaijani officer, Anar Aliyev, about Safarov immediately after the murder: "I was in the stronger group; that is why we studied in different groups, and he (Ramil) was in the weaker one. I have already been to different countries, and it was very important for me to have a good knowledge of the English language. Only officers studied here, and therefore no one could suppose that there could be problems because of domestic conflicts. The classes were very important for me, while it was all the same to Ramil."

"He showed me the knife he had bought at Tesco. I noticed the axe and pulled it out and asked him, 'Why do you need this?' He explained that he had bought it for his father. The answer seemed unusual to me and I was very surprised, but he said it is much cheaper here."

"I noticed that the Armenian's roommate, the Hungarian, was standing and trembling… Ramil started to calm down the Hungarian… He was so calm that it feared me even more…"

Other witnesses' testimonies

Kuti Balázs (Hungary), Gurgen Margaryan's roommate: "When I saw that my roommate was lying on his back and his head and neck were bleeding, while he was wheezing as if he was short of air (those were very low sounds) I was simply shocked... I knew that I could not help my friend any more… even after that he made two or more blows… He left with such an expression on his face as if he had completed something important well enough."

Kuti Balázs described Gurgen as a kind and sympathetic person. A day before, he had caught cold and Gurgen looked after him offering his colleague tea and medicine.

Testimony of officer Saulus Paulus (Lithuania, Hayk Makuchyan's roommate): "The reason of the tense atmosphere (they did not greet each other) was the conflict between the two countries. As for the relations between the two guys, I noticed nothing of the sort. The students spoke about the Azerbaijani students being offended of the Armenians, but not of those two students concretely, but in general…"

Eyewitness Moncilovic Goran (Serbia): "…I got up, went out of the room to the corridor. The defendant was standing in front of the entrance in 1.5-2 metres distance from me. He was standing in front of me and holding the helve of the axe with two hands at his chest. He asked me twice in English where the Armenian was. I also answered him twice in English that I did not know. Meanwhile, he drew his finger along the sharp edge of the axe and showed me the bloodstained finger."

*. Some parts of the text are taken from the website BUDAPEST CASE



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