Category: Torture 2019



07 January

Believers Abbas Huseynov and Tale Bagirzade

Based on the Azadliq radio and Turan agency reports the well-known theologian Tale Bagirzade, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017, complained in the telephone conversation with his relatives about the pressure exerted by the Head of Gobustan prison Aftandil Agayev. The prison authorities were creating obstacles to the believer’s prayers, periodically restricting his telephone communication time with relatives, and tapping conversations with his lawyer during their meetings. But most importantly, he was constantly beaten up which was confirmed by his relatives who had noticed the torture traces on his body.

13 January

According to the Azadliq newspaper report the well-known theologian Tale Bagirzade, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2017, informed his wife about the use of torture against believers in Gobustan prison. In particular, he was concerned that the other day the prison staff broke into the cell where there was Abbas Huseynov and subjected him to brutal beatings. Huseynov was also convicted for 20 years imprisonment. Then Abbas was taken in unknown direction. The day after Abbas Huseynov’s mother, Rahima Huseynova, provided some information concerning her son’s location. According to her words Abbas, after the brutal beatings, was taken from the Gobustan prison to the investigative isolator No. 1 in the village of Kyurdakhani. His lawyer, Fariz Namazli, was unable either to meet him or obtain any information. But he assumed that most likely the convicted Abbas Huseynov would be subjected to another criminal proceeding.

15 January

The first details concerning the situation of the activists of Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) are emerging: with reference to the imprisoned relatives, the Turan agency and Meydan TV it became known about the brutal torture of believers Tale Bagirzade, Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov. As a result, having been unable to withstand the torture Bagirzadeh inflicted bodily harm on himself. Jabbarov has been repeatedly beaten. Abbas Huseynov was dragged to the prison yard where he was crucified on a pole, the torture that had been practiced in the Middle Ages. Some hours later, Abbas was taken off and placed in a cell. Abbas’ mother, Rahima Huseynova, appealed to the Red Cross with a request to visit her son.

It also became known that a new criminal case against Abbas Huseynov and a number of those convicted in the “Nardaran case” was indeed initiated.

22 January

The pressure and repressions against Tale Bagirzade have been intensified. According to the Azadliq newspaper report the theologian hasn’t been allowed either to walk outside or take shower. The prison authorities put a mentally ill prisoner in his cell; that mentally ill inmate had previously tried to burn his cellmate in bed. Presently, he is showing aggression towards the theologian. Moreover, the prison authorities were to incite other prisoners to conflict with Tale, and then punished the theologian with closing him in the disciplinary cell. All his complaints are rejected. In a telephone conversation with relatives Tale Bagirzade said that if this campaign of repressions against him continued, he would start a hunger strike in protest.

27 January

The MUM released a statement that Tale Bagirzade, Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov had recently faced “unprecedented pressure”. In the MUM statement said: recently, they have been regularly subjected to verbal and physical abuse, deprived of “elementary rights”, and when trying to protest they “are subjected to torture” and placed in a disciplinary cell. If the pressure on the leader and other MUM members does not stop, they will start an indefinite hunger strike in prisons, it was underlined in the MUM’s statement. The imprisoned believers’ relatives added their own statement. Leyla Ismayilzade, the theologian Tale Bagirzade’s wife, told a correspondent of the Caucasus Knot agency: “Due to psychological pressure in early January, he inflicted bodily injury on himself. The other day we talked over the phone; this wound has been already healing but the authorities provocations are constantly repeated”.

Furthermore, Abbas Huseynov’s mother informed the Caucasus Knot correspondent that she spoke to her son for the last time on 12 January, when he was still in Gobustan prison. A few days later, “he was severely beaten; being injured and covered in blood, he was taken to Kyurdakhani (Baku pre-trial first detention center). We are not allowed to meet after he had been transferred to the pre-trial detention facility. They do not let him call. A lawyer was not allowed to see him either.”

28 January

A 35-year old Yunis Safarov arrested in connection to the case of assassination attempt on the Head of the Ganja city Elmar Valiyev, is subjected to brutal torture; he is not just beaten but also the electric current is regularly passed through his body. That information was published on Facebook page of the founder of  the Meydan TV, Emin Millie, who in his turn cited Safarov’s relatives. According to the Safarov’s sister, Lala Safarova, her brother is being tortured in order to get “the right evidence”. In particular, he has to admit that he acted as a member of armed group which planed some attack in advance. Yunis Safarov’s relatives are concerned about his fate and suspect that Safarov might be killed in prison.

29 January

As it is written in the Azadliq newspaper there are new tortures against convicted believer Abbas Huseynov. His mother was finally able to meet him, and she saw his body covered with previously non-existent numerous wounds. She paid particular attention to two new big bumps in the back of the head. His arm and body were covered with bloody wounds, and he could hardly breathe, “He was so often strangled and his neck was squeezed that for several days he had been having a hard time drinking water” Abbas Huseynov’s mother told the reporter. She added that they had repeatedly beaten up his legs so they were still swollen. During the brutal beatings the investigators constantly insulted Abbas calling him an Iranian spy.”

Further he was talking about psychological pressure and tortures and his appeal to stop a campaign of repressions against the believers.

31 January

Tale Bagirzade, the MUM leader, addressed to the public through the media that circulated his message. He appealed to human rights activists and international organizations to pay attention to the situation in Gobustan prison, “There is a humanitarian tragedy in the Gobustan prison. Do not remain indifferent”. According to the Meydan TV news, Tale Bagirzade pointed out that Jabbar Jabbarov had been recently tortured despite the fact that he is seriously ill. “And a man in such health conditions was severely beaten and then thrown into a punishment cell. He was beaten by the prison director, Aftandil Agayev.” Have been spending 15 days in disciplinary cell, his wounds have been still bleeding. Then, Bagirzade spoke of pressure exerted by the prison administration on him as well as the torture against Abbas Huseynov, and called for an end to this campaign of repression against believers.

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04 February

Penitentiary Service of Azerbaijan

A Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) activist Abbas Huseynov’s mother, Rahima Huseynova told the Caucasus Knot correspondent that Abbas called her and said that he had started a hunger strike on 03 February as a sign of protest against torture and pressure and the MUM head Tale Bagirzade had been starving since 31 January. She pointed out that “as soon as Abbas informed her about the hunger strike, the wardens grabbed the receiver and their conversation was interrupted. Tale Bagirzade’s wife Leyla Ismayilzade confirmed the fact of the hunger strike and stated that she applied to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baku on 04 February. The Public Relations Department of the Penitentiary Service refrained from making comments.

07 February

The Press Service of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (IPA) has circulated a statement about the ongoing persecution and torture of the MUM leader Tale Bagirzade and an activist Abbas Huseynov. It is stated that none of the convicted believer’ appeals or complaints has been considered. Moreover, T. Bagirzade was deprived of the right to take a bath or talk over the phone as a punishment for his hunger strike. In response, T. Bagirzade and A. Huseynov declare that if tortures and repression against them do not stop, they will start an indefinite hunger strike. IPA discredited the policy of repression against believers and called up the Penitentiary Service to stop this policy. 

11 February

According to the Azadliq newspaper, T. Bagirzade’s hunger strike has been going on for 11 days and A. Huseynov’s hunger strike last for 8 days. In the meantime, their relatives do not have a permission  to visit or call them, and they are not provided with any information concerning Bagirzade’s and Huseynov’s condition. The accused believers’ lawyers are also prohibited to communicate with their accused clients. T. Bagirzade’s lawyer, Bahruz Bayramov said that on February 8  he officially addressed to the Gobustan prison administration with a request to meet with his client. He got an answer that T. Bagirzade allegedly refused to meet with him; the reasons for such a strange reaction was not given. In turn, the management of the Penitentiary Service denied the widespread reports of torture and pressure in detention centres, as well as the fact of Bedirzade’s and Huseynov’s hunger strike.

14 February

According to the Azadliq newspaper, once again the Penitentiary Service management denied the fact of a hunger strike by believers in Gobustan prison. Moreover, the Head of the Penitentiary Service’s press service, Mehman Sadigov, said that “the hunger strike is not properly carried out. First, an inmate should apply in writing to the Head of the prison explaining the reasons of strike then it would be studied by the prison administration. And only after that a hunger strike is allowed; an inmate is kept in solitary confinement and under a doctor supervision”. Yet again, Tale Bagirzade’s wife publicly stated that the MUM leader has been already going on the 14th day of hunger strike. Then Leila Ismayilzade said that on 12 February, she managed to get a meeting with the Gobustan prison director, Aftandil Agayev, who reassured her that Tale Bagirzade hadn’t not been starving, and he allegedly refused to call his family. “But I said, – continued Leila, that neither my relatives, nor I have any news from him for 15 days. And I got my husband brought to the director’s office while I was there. In the warden’s presence, Tale Bagirzade openly stated that it was a lie and he was not allowed to make calls. And then he addressed to the warden, “If my hands are bleeding from the handcuffs and I am about to develop gangrene. If it is not your fault whose fault is that?” Then, in the presence of his wife and Agayev, he confirmed that he had started a hunger strike in protest against torture and persecution of religious prisoners. His wife asked him again, “Did you really start a hunger strike?”, on which Tale Bagirzade replied “I am starving for the 12th day.” Their meeting in the director’s office lasted no more than 15 minutes.

15 February

In response to the information provided by Leyla Ismayilzade about her husband Tale Bagirzade’s hunger strike in the Azerbaijani media, the Penitentiary Service disseminated a statement, which denied the fact of his hunger strike. It was stated that on 12 February, 2019 Tale’s father, Kamil Bagirov, and wife, Leyla Ismayilzade, had an appointment with Aftandil Agayev, the Head of the Gobustan prison, who explained to them that no one either violated the law or committed any other illegal acts against Bagirzade. Tale refused to meet or talk to his relatives and lawyer despite the fact that there were all favorable conditions. Then it is said “A meeting with Bagirzade’s relatives was organized in one of the prison offices. However, when Bagirzade entered the room he immediately expressed his disagreement to see with his relatives and rudely demanded them to leave. When Tale was asked by the prison official about the reasons to cancel a meeting with his lawyer and relatives and his rejection to speak to them over the phone, Bagirzadeh stated that he wanted public to talk about him to stay on the agenda news, and this was his only chance. Then he said to his relatives, “Go and tell everyone I’m on a hunger strike. And in conclusion, the Penitentiary Service once again pointed out that Tale Bagirzade never filed a complaint about illegal actions against him, either he didn’t mention his hunger strike.

16 February

Co-chairmen of the Committee to Protect the Rights of Believers Rovshan Ahmedli and Eldaniz Quliyev visited Gobustan prison. They had an opportunity to meet with the MUM leader Tale Bagirzade, also with an activist of the organization Jabbar Jabbarov as well as with the head of the IPA Movsum Samadov. According to the Turan agency report, each prisoner has had a separate meeting in a presence of their lawyers in a visiting room. Tale Bagirzade has taken into account the request of the co-chairmen of the Committee, as well as the leadership of the National Council of Democratic Forces and decided to end a 16-day hunger strike against the violation of the rights of convicted believers.

The issue of removing restrictions on the convicted believers’ telephone conversations was also positively resolved. Bagirzadeh and Jabbarov expressed their desire to be held in the same cell but this request was denied. The co-chairmen of the Committee also requested permission to meet with Abbas Huseynov, a convicted MUM activist but permission was not issued due to Abbas Huseynov sickness. It was said that he had been kept in the medical ward of the Penitentiary Service.

22 February

Bakhtiyar Baghirov, the MUM activist, appealed at the Baku Court of Appeal where his complaint was considered. Although the police detained him on 06 February, they did not provided any information either to his family or lawyer for five days. And only on 11 February, they decided to inform his relatives (though his detention could be considered as a kidnapping), and at the same time they drew up a report  concerning Bagirov’s detention. The same day the Narimanov District Court of Baku sentenced him to 15 days imprisonment under the Article 510.1 (petty hooliganism) of the Code of Administrative Offences of Azerbaijan Republic. During the trial, the lawyer raised the issue concerning his client where about for the last five days. In his speech, B. Bagirov said that all this time he was kept in the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of Baku. The law enforcement officers immediately reacted on the question stating that he was detained for his publications on social networks about the torture of the MUM leader Tale Bagirzade and other members of the organization, in particular, Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov. That’s why all these “I was beaten by 5-6 people”, said Bagirov. But Judge Hasan Ahmadov ignored the statement of torture and rejected the complaint.

23 February

The trial proceedings against six people arrested in connection with the July 2018 Ganja events namely Elvin Allahverdiyev, Elvin Nazarov, Renat Mammadov, Vugar Khudiyev, Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly began in the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes, under the chairmanship of the Judge Khagani Samadov. All the accused were charged under the Article 220.1 (riots) of the Criminal Code (CC) of Azerbaijan. Also the accused Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly were charged with committing crimes under the Article 315.2 (use of violence dangerous to life or health against a representative of the authority performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. All the defendants did not have financial means for hiring lawyers and were therefore assigned the state lawyers. Whereas the latter prefer to remain silent or agree with the judge and prosecutor’s verdicts at trials. Moreover, the lawyers did not file a complaint that all the accused had been handcuffed even during the hearing in the court hall! When a journalist who were at the court asked one of the lawyers about this violation, a lawyer answered as he were a prosecutor, “If you take the handcuffs off, they will do something and then who will be responsible for it?”

The accused Elvin Nazarov was heard the very same day. Being a resident of Mingachevir, he had brought food for his arrested friend to the Kyapaz police department in Ganja on 11 July 2018. But there he was suddenly detained, his phone was taken away and he was not allowed to inform his relatives about the incident. He was brutally beaten at the police station. During the trial Nazarov shared the following “At first, I was handcuffed and blindfolded so that I wouldn’t fight back and see the people who had been beating me. They wanted to cover my mouth with a piece of scotch but I said I could breathe only through my mouth, so I could suffocate. I promised not to cry, be silent, endure everything, but asked to keep my mouth opened”.

He told that they had beaten up his legs for a long time, then they beat him with truncheons on his kidneys and lungs until he lost his consciousness. “When I fainted, they poured water on me and as soon as I was conscious they restarted beating me again”, it is another Nazarov’s testimony in the court about the tortures in Kyapaz and then in Nizami department of Ganja police. Time to time some other methods were also used; he was tied up and suspended to the ceiling then fell on the concrete floor. Then two policemen held his head firmly whereas the third one was sadistically pulling out his hair. Then they hit him severely and painfully so that his eardrums burst out. They often used thick books hitting on his ears. These beatings made him unable to sit, his legs got swollen, and he couldn’t move around on his own for a long time.

Surviving 9 days of brutal torture, on 20 July 2018, Nazarov was convicted for 4 months imprisonment and then the court took decision to transfer Elvin to the detention center No. 1 in Kyurdakhani settlement. The next trial session is scheduled for the 28th of February

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05 March

Another trial on the so-called “Ganja case” was completed in Sabunchi District Court on 01 March. The Judge of the Ganja court on serious crimes, Khagani Samadov, issued a sentence on a group of 6 people, condemning them for terms from 6 to 8 years imprisonment. The relative of the condemned for 7 years imprisonment Elvin Allahverdiyev told in an interview with a correspondent of the Veten ugrunda agency, that Elvin brought food basket to his arrested friends Renat Mammadov and Elvin Nazarov on 11 June 2018. But he was also arrested in the premises of the Kyapaz Police Station in Ganja, and he was taken to pre-trial detention center No. 1 in the village of Kyurdakhani in Baku suburb on 25 July.

Prior to the trial, relatives could not visit him, all contacts had to be made through a lawyer. When relatives finally saw Elvin Allahverdiyev at the trial, they did not even recognize him at first: “Elvin told us that he had been brutally beaten in Ganja. 6-7 people were attacking him and beat him with their hands and feet, his ears were bleeding and his face was swollen with bruises. All his teeth were knocked out, his gums were bleeding, and he couldn’t eat. He could only digest the liquid food. He is living with severe pain”. According to relatives’ word, Elvin was beaten day and night for 9 days at the Kyapaz Police Station. These 9 days were not documented ay all, “Having tied his arms and legs together, he was beaten with truncheons until he lost his consciousness. They beat him from morning till night and stopped only at the moment when they were tired of doing it. His ribs were broken on one side, so he could lie on one side for some months”.

15 March

Leyla Ismayilzade, the leader of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) Tale Bagirzadeh’s wife, told a correspondent of the Azadliq newspaper that the prison staff monitored all telephone conversations and put pressure on the theologian. In a telephone conversation with her, the MUM leader said that he “had been asked to write a letter of repentance and ask for pardon, but he refused to do so. After that, the pressure against him just increased”. Leila Ismayilzade appealed to the Penitentiary Service management asking to give her husband an opportunity to read the press so that he would not be in the information blockade. But that request was rejected.

19 March

Muhammadali Akhundzade and Ruhulla Akhundzade

According to the newspaper Azadliq and radio Voice of America, Ruhulla Akhundzade, one of the leaders of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, who was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison in October 2011, while being the eighth year in the penitentiary colony № 15, announced a hunger strike in protest against the pressure on him. He was seriously ill and underwent heart surgery at a prison hospital in 2013. But he needed to be undergoing serious and constant treatment. However, lately he has not received this kind of treatment. Moreover, they began to put pressure on him in order to renounce his faith. He was required to shave off his beard and then threatened to forcibly do it. And then they sent him to a punishment cell. After all the above, the believer announced a hunger strike while he was in solitary confinement.

Upon discovering it, his son, Muhammadali Akhundzade, sentenced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment in June 2016, also joined his father’s protest and began a hunger strike.

Mehman Sadigov, the head of the Public Relations Department of the Penitentiary Service, told the Voice of America correspondent that the Akhundzade, father and son, did not request a hunger strike and therefore he denied this fact.

25 March

Another case was initiated in the Ganja Serious Crimes Court chaired by the Judge Natiq Aliyev in connection with the July 2018 events in Ganja. This time, it concerned a group of 8 people. Once again, the court was not held in Ganja, which was a violation of the law, but in the building of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku.

Urfan Mammadov

First, one of the accused, Urfan Mammadov, made a statement at the trial. He was charged under the 21 articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. Including the Articles 120.2.1 (premeditated murder committed by a group of individuals), 120.2.11 (premeditated murder involving robbery, extortion, terrorism, or banditry), 214.2.6 (preparing acts of terrorism based on religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 220.1 (organization of riots accompanied by violence and pogroms), 228.3 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons committed by an organized group of individuals). 278.2 (forcible seizure of power, commission of offences aimed at violent reformation of the constitutional system of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including its secular character or violation of its territorial integrity, or violent seizure of power on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 279.1-1 ( formation of armed groups, participation in these groups or formations on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism, and 281.2. (repeatedly expressed public calls against the State be individual or a group of people) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic.

As later on the relatives told the journalists of the agency Veten ugrunda, on 23 July 2018, Urfan Mammadov was called to the Nizami Police Station in Ganja, where he was then arrested and tortured. He was brutally beaten and electrocuted, many times even through his genitals. When he lost his consciousness, they poured water on him to make him come back to his senses. Then they proceeded to beat him again. Urfan Mammadov, who had lost consciousness, the police officers handcuffed and dragged him to the office of Adalat Sadigov, the head of the Nizami Police Station in Ganja. The latter first cursed Urfan Mammadov, then personally tortured him and demanded to sign the interrogation report with the necessary confessions, frightening him with even more brutal torture and humiliation.

His relatives also told journalists that signs of torture were still visible on his body at the trial, and Urfan Mammadov requested an expertise, but the court declined to consider these demands, as well as other appeals of the accused.

Besides the head of the Ganja Police Department, Adalat Sadigov, also Orhan Babayev, an investigator of the Investigative Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan, who “distinguished himself” in mockery and torture of the accused.

Rauf Bayramov

Then the floor was given to Rauf Bayramov, a resident of the village of Ziyadly in the Samukh district. He was detained on charges of involvement in the Ganja events on 23 July 2018.  As in that case, after the trial, the son of the arrested person told the journalists of Veten ugrunda agency that his father was brought to the Nizami Police Station in Ganja and subjected to brutal beatings. From the beatings “his father started to spit up blood. They regularly passed current through his entire body and clamped his fingers in metalwork vice.” Then they both, father and son, were transferred to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Baku, where Orkhan Babayev, an investigator, tortured the arrested people. As a result, Rauf Bayramov could not tolerate it and signed everything that the investigator O. Babayev had demanded.

The other Rauf Bayramov’s son, Huseyn, a 22-year-old young man, was arrested and subjected to no less brutal torture on 1 September 2018. According to his relatives, the investigator Orkhan Babayev first threatened to throw him out the window and kill him, and then proceeded to beatings with a truncheon.

The Bayramovs, father and son, are also charged under the 21 Articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.


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30 April

Shahin Verdiyev





According to the Agency Veten ugrunda, Shahin Verdiyev, who, on 30 July 2018, was arrested on charges of participation in the events in Ganja in July 2018, has been suffering from a serious neurological disease since he was 8 years old and has therefore been under constant medical supervision. However, his medical conditions did not stop law enforcement officials. As it turned out in the course of the trial on the so-called “Ganja case” in the Baku Sabunchi District Court, as well as according to the arrested sister’s words, Nigar Verdiyeva, Shahin Verdiyev was first subjected to brutal torture in the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja by the order of Orkhan Babayev, an investigator of the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes of the General Prosecutor’s Office. After putting a bag over his head and tying up hands behind his back, a current was passed through Verdiyev’s body. When he fainted, the doctors were called out and they brought him back to his senses. After that, the torture kept on going, and the police officers continued to beat the detainee with truncheons and their legs non-stop.


As a consequence, Verdiev’s condition has deteriorated dramatically since the beginning of the trial. On 21 April Shahin Verdiyev got worse, but his doctors did not hurry up to help him until the situation became threatening and the doctors diagnosed a heart attack. On 23 April Shahin Verdiyev was transferred to the Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service. But even there, a week later, the doctors did not hasten to render any serious care to Verdiyev, who suffered from a heart attack.

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02 May

Shahin Verdiyev

On 02 May, there was an incident during the trial of another group of defendants connected to the July 2018 events in Ganja, in Sabunchi District Court in Baku. Human rights defender Oqtay Quliyev told the Turan agency that the accused Shahin Verdiyev, who suffered a heart attack a few days ago, was brought to the court from the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service. This caused indignation among the other defendants and their relatives. They demanded the judge Dadash Imanov to suspend the trial, however, their request has been ignored. “We saw ourselves Shahin’s poor condition; his face was distorted, he was very pale and couldn’t move» stated the human rights activists.

One of the defendants, Asif Javadov, having been stressed, fainted, then, the trial was suspended and an ambulance called in. Another defendant shouted that he would commit suicide in protest against this injustice.

04 May

Oqtay Gulaliyev, a human rights defender, on behalf of 98 families of the arrested on the occasion of the Ganja events in July 2018 addressed to the President of Azerbaijan. The statement reveals the heinous torture inflicted on their loved ones after their arrest by the police. This message is also addressed to the First Vice-President, Mehriban Aliyeva, the Prosecutor General, the Minister of Justice and some others.

“Can you imagine your father being chained to a radiator and beaten mercilessly? At the same time, his 21-year-old son is stripped, and while his hands and feet are tied with scotch he is brutally beaten; electric current is being applied to his body, his heels are set on fire, and his fingers are clamped in a vise. These tortures are for their refusal to sign false statements,” stated in the appeal.

The detainees were first taken to the Nizami District Police Department in Ganja, where they were subjected to cruel and humiliating ill-treatment. “They were said that they would be rolled up in asphalt for murdering their boss, and all the police officers were trampling on the floor,” the statement said.

The beatings and tortures have been continued in the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where “executioners in masks” came to torture the arrested. “Even 9 months later, traces of violence are still visible on their bodies. Thus, Urfan Mammadov still can not move his thumb. Kamal Quliyev’s eardrum has been injured. The hands of Asif Javadov have traces of burning cigarettes, etc.”.

Due to unfair arrests and inhumane mistreatment of their children, many parents got seriously ill. One mother had passed away, another had tried to commit suicide. The authors of the appeal demand an investigation of tortures by the courts and prosecution of the torturers.  

05 May

Eyruz Hajiyev

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, Eyruz Hajiyev, who was arrested on charges of involvement in the events in Ganja in July 2018, was subjected to brutal torture in the course of the investigation. During the trial in the Sabunchi District Court, he described his experiences of torture. But the Judge Mohammad Bagirov ignored his testimony and, on 02 March, sentenced E. Hajiyev to 7 years imprisonment. That day, the other seven defendants were also sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

In protesting against the unlawful arrest, torture and unfair conviction, Eyruz Hajiyev declared a hunger strike in prison.

06 May

Sabuhi Rajabov

Gulmirza Nuruzade

Two more convicted in the so-called “Ganja case”, Sabuhi Rajabov and Gulmirza Nuruzade, (each of them was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment on March 2), joined the protest action and declared a hunger strike in prison. They declared an indefinite hunger strike demanding for restoration of their rights.

Having been informed about it, the relatives of the accused in the “Ganja case” regularly held a rally of protest in Baku and Ganja. They consider the arrests of their relatives illegal and falsified and demand their release. They also affirm that their children have been subjected to severe torture and humiliation.

11 May

Aydyn Qurbanov

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, Aydyn Qurbanov, arrested on charges of being involved in the Ganja events on 28 July 2018, was transferred to the Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service. This was confirmed by his wife, Mahbuba Qurbanova, who pointed out that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer, but even then, “He was subjected to physical pressure and torture during the investigation. In early spring, he had internal bleeding, but was not normally examined in the pre-trial detention facility. But only when his illness deteriorated, he was finally transferred to a prison hospital.” And then she added, “I have seen him for the first time 10 months later after his arrest and our separation. He has weakened and changed a great deal, he has become just unrecognizable. Once a week he has a blood transfusion. He cannot eat for more than a week. He hadn’t been eating for more than a week. He had been perfectly healthy before his arrest, but after those tortures he became unrecognizable. And the doctor said he had a stomach cancer. They made him terminally ill. But even now they do not let him go home. Our children are not aware, yet, that their father is terminally ill.“

16 May

The health of Aydyn Qurbanov, arrested on the Ganja events, has drastically deteriorated. His wife, Mahbuba Qurbanova, said that her husband had a stomach cancer. The disease has reached a dangerous stage: it has produced metastases and affected his liver. “Yesterday, when I brought the medications to the Ministry of Justice, we were able to see each other for 3-4 minutes. The doctor diagnosed him with stomach cancer and said the cancer had metastasized,” she said. According to Mahbuba, her husband has long been denied high-quality medical care. “He hasn’t even had an MRI for three months. If they had done a checkup on time, the disease wouldn’t have been so neglected,” concluded Qurbanova. Iftikhar Qurbanov, the Deputy Head of the Main Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service, refrained from making comments, citing the lack of information about the detainee’s condition.

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03 June

On 03 June there was a trial presiding by the judge Chingiz Mammadov in the Baku Appeal Court. According to the Agency Veten ugrunda, it was a hearing to resolve the case of the 4 people among of the 11 accused  in the Ganja events that took place in July 2018.

Orhan Yagnaliyev, one of the defendants, stated in his speech that he had come to Ganja to attend his grandmother’s wake and was arrested along with his cousin in the street. When they were brought to the police station, there had already been plenty of people. The policemen started to beat up those people right in the corridor. “Then we were transferred to the Nizami Police Department. When we got inside, we saw the head of the department, Adalat Sadigov, and Orhan Babayev, an investigator from the General Prosecutor’s Office. They told us to give them 5.000 Manats each and then they would let us go. I answered them that I had been innocent and it would be proved, and then they would let me go anyway. In response Adalat Sadigov said that it is Azerbaijan here. And here, there is no law. He continues – “I will include you in the list of participants of the Ganja actions”. And then he added – “I can even shoot a bullet in your head and kill you, I’m not afraid of anyone”. And an investigator Orhan Babayev said, “I know what needs to be done to make you smart”. After heard him saying that I was stripped naked, my arms and legs were tied up and attached to the heating system. I was beaten up severely that I got completely deaf in one ear and, now I can’t hear. My nose was broken and my head was hit so hard, so it was smashed. Then they pinched my thumb between the doors, tortured my legs so I couldn’t walk for some days. After all kinds of torture I was subjected, they threw me into the disciplinary cell of the Ganja prison.  There, we have not be given any food or drink for 3 days.”

Further, Orhan Yagnaliyev noted that both he and all those arrested on Ganja cases were robbed by the policemen.  The officers had stolen money from their pockets, some valuables such as rings, golden chains taken off from their hands and much more. Some detainees’ phones had been taken  and never returned back.

Then O. Yagnaliyev added that he was in a prison on 03 July. But the police protocol states that he was messaging with representatives of some groups by phone, “I was in prison on 03 July, and they didn’t give us to use our phones. It was only on 09 July when I returned home and used my old phone there. How could I correspond by phone from the police station? I was forced to confess that I had taken part in the action. I was subjected to such horrible tortures that I almost hanged myself in a cell”.O. Yagnaliev’s father got hysterical listening to his son talking. He could no longer hear what had been done to his son and left the courtroom going outside.

A citizen of Russia, Vaqif Ashrafov, who came to his historic homeland, at the trial, also spoke about the tortures he had been subjected to, “I was tortured by an assistant prosecutor by the name of Nihad. He took me to a room where I saw many broken chair legs. He tied up my arms and legs and pushed me on the floor. He has beaten me with those broken chair legs. Moreover, he took off his shoes and started hitting my ears with a heel, so my ears got bloody and torn. And these wounds haven’t healed yet. The only thing I have managed to tell him that I had blood clots and heart problems. But Adalat Sadigov said, “Where he has more pain, that’s exactly where you should hit him the most.”

After that, the judge announced the end of the session and scheduled the next on 20 June.

5 June

Abulfaz Bunyadov

The health condition of Abulfaz Bunyadov, a member of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM), who was convicted of participation in the Nardaran events, has significantly deteriorated. During a special police operation in Nardaran on 26 November 2015, Bunyadov was wounded by bullet that damaged his spine. On 11 July 2018, the court sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment on charges of attempting to change the constitutional structure, terrorism, and others.

“Abulfaz has been already bedridden, he cannot move around on his own. He is kept in a medical facility and is looked after by other prisoners. In addition to his previous illnesses, such as spinal cord injury, hepatitis C, bedsores, he has recently been suffering from an intestinal infection and is unable to eat. We have done tests of the samples elsewhere, and the doctors there have found severe infections and fungi in the intestines. He is in a very serious condition,” – the spouse of the convict Leyla Bunyadova said.

According to her, Bunyadov is being held along with five others in a cramped room. “Keeping a person in such a condition in prison is like killing him. Abulfaz Bunyadov should be immediately released and brought into the clinic under serious medical supervision. Otherwise, the responsibility for what happens to him will be laid on those who illegally condemned and kept him in prison,” the deputy chairman of the MUM, Elchin Gasymov, said.

12 June

The Supreme Court rejected Abulfaz Bunyadov’s appeal. He was convicted for participation in the Nardaran events. A group of human rights activists, civil society activists and intellectuals asked the country’s leadership to help release Bunyadov due to his serious health condition;  he suffered from limb paralysis, hepatitis C, intestinal infection. However, the call of the democratic public remained unfulfilled despite a threat to the convicted’s life.

13 June

Alim Yusifov

Alim Yusifov, who was sentenced to 7.5 years of imprisonment in the so-called “Ganja case” on 10 May 2019, lost consciousness in the detention center on 13 June. This was reported by the convicted Alim’s mother, Arzu Aliyeva, to the Veten ugrunda agency’s reporter, ” Now, Alim is  in the pre-trial detention facility in the village of Kyurdakhani. He called me, but could not speak because of the pain. He only said that he could not breathe because of the severe pain in his kidneys. My son asked many times the doctor to come and see him but he did not even look in his direction. Having said that, my son lost consciousness and the conversation was interrupted.”

Arzu Aliyeva continued by saying that her son had been absolutely healthy prior to his arrest, “Alim is now 30 years old. He has never complained about his health before. However, after his arrest he was so much beaten that his arm and nose got broken. His kidneys were badly affected. They have not been cured yet, and now his liver has deteriorated, because during interrogations he had been kicked all over his body, particularly badly beaten on his kidneys and liver. «She continued explaining that he was subjected to such severe beatings in order to admit his non-committed crime, “On 11 July 2018, at about 10 o’clock in the morning, the police officers took him away from his rented apartment in Ganja, and he was subjected to unimaginable torture. He was beaten so badly that the wounds on his face had not been healed for some months. They beat him and demanded him to agree with “his clime” – drugs trafficking or something else.”

16 June

Theologian Karbalayi Qismat Isayev

According to the site Xeber44, Karbalayi Qismat Isayev, a well-known theologian, who had been imprisoned in Correctional Colony #17, was disciplined and transferred to a punishment cell. The reason for this punishment is unknown. His relatives cannot talk to him or ask the prison authorities about the reason for his punishment.

It should be reminded that the theologian had been arrested on 19 April 2016 and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment on charges of committing crimes under the Articles 154 (Violation of citizens’ equality), 159.3 (Compulsion of citizens to vote against their will or obstruction of their voting), and 228.1 (Illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of

18 June

Vugar Khudiyev

The Baku Appeal Court headed by the judge of the Ganja Court of Serious Crimes, Salman Huseynov, held a scheduled hearing on the so-called “Ganja cases” involving the group of the convicted on 01 March 2019. The agency Veten ugrunda reported that complaints of the convicted, Elvin Nazarov, Elman Rustamov, Elvin Allahverdiyev, Neymat Heydarly, Renat Mammadov and Vugar Khudiyev had been considered.

At the trial, Vugar Khudiyev spoke about the terrible torture he had been subjected to at the Kyapaz police station in the city of Ganja, «I was beaten for a very long time at the police station in order to break my back but they could not do it. Then they tied my arms and legs and chained me to a chair. They kept asking me if I knew some Rashad. After getting my negative relies, they pushed my chair to the wall, turned it over on the floor, and kept beating me up. Later, in the pre-trial detention center in Kyurdakhani, my cellmates told a doctor that I had had a broken rib, and asked him to examine me. The doctor asked who I was? He was told that I had been a Ganja prisoner. Then the doctor said that they had been asked not to check the prisoners of “the Ganja case”.

At that moment, the judge Salman Huseynov interrupted Vugar Khudiyev by saying, “Don’t talk about repressions here, stop it! Tell me why you came to Ganja?” and thereby prevented the disclosure of torture facts in court.

At the end, B. Khudiyev pointed out that he was constantly beaten up at the Kyapaz Police Department. At the same time, it was said that they had been waiting for orders from “above” to shoot us all. Then an investigator came in and said that he would give me the Article 531 of the Criminal Code, as if I had taken part in mass riots. When they brought us to the Kyurdakhani pre-trial detention facility, all the detainees in the cells were told not to approach those who had been arrested in the connection to the Ganja case, otherwise they would have problems and would be convicted under the same article, as well as for treason”.

Following the statement of the state prosecutor Adalat Azimov that the 6 convicts had not been subjected to any kind of torture, the 6 detainees were outraged. The judge’s attempt to calm down the convicts had failed. Each of them started immediately talking about tortures they had been subjected to. Elvin Nazarov said that he had had no contact with his relatives for 7 months, and then turned to the state prosecutor A. Azimov saying, “Come to me and look at my wrists. There are still some traces of torture. My hands were handcuffed, I was thrown on the floor, and then a 150-kilogram man sat on my hands and the handcuffs crashed into my bones in the wrist. I was bleeding all over. And now you say there was no torture? And what happened to us then? ”

Then the judge stopped the hearing and announced the rescheduling to 24 June.

21 June

Shahin Verdiyev (in centre) and other defendant of so-called “Ganja case”

There was a scheduled hearing on the so-called “Ganja case” of a group of 8 people in the Sabunchi District Court under the presiding of the judge of the Ganja court on serious crimes Dadash Imanov. However, according to Seminara Verdiyeva, a correspondent of the Veten ugrunda agency, at the very beginning of the session her son Shahin Verdiyev’s condition suddenly deteriorated drastically, “The doctors were urgently summoned. After having examined Shahin, they came to conclusion that he urgently required medical attention. But, although we asked to substitute imprisonment for a house arrest for Verdiyev, we did not receive permission to do so. They could make only injections to relieve the pain in the Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service. I buy myself all the necessary drugs. My son was brutally subjected to torture during the investigation. His mouth and eyes were covered with scotch, his hands were handcuffed behind his back, his legs were tied up, and then he was tortured with electric shocks”.

She added more, “My son was tortured under the supervision of Orkhan Babayev, an investigator for particularly serious crimes at the General Prosecutor’s Office. The latter personally electrocuted him, so that my son passed out. They were even obliged to call an ambulance twice. After have been regaining his senses, they started to electrocute him again. That’s why my son is in this condition now, because no one seriously treated him”.

Shahin Verdiyev’s lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova filed a petition demanding to have her client sitting next to her and not in a glass cabin (“aquarium”), but the judge Dadash Imanov declined to grant the request. After that, Sh. Verdiyev, who was in the glass cabin, felt weak and lost his consciousness.  Z. Sadigova again petitioned to postpone the process, “Nothing is more important than human life. My client’s state of health is very poor. Please stop and postpone the hearing to another day.” The prosecution’s representative objected, but the judge decided to grant the petition and postponed the trial to 27 June.

25 June

Bakram Aliyev

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, Bakram Aliyev, accused in the so-called “Ganja case”, sent a letter through his relatives. It said, “I was detained by people in civilian clothes at the Navai post when I was going to Baku. I was brought to the branch of the Ministry of National Security in Ganja, and in about 5 hours I was handed over to the officers of the Nizami district police department in Ganja. They brought me to the chief’s office and showed me the video, asking, if it was me. I answered “yes”, and then I was hit. I defended myself as much as I could.

After that, they took me to another office, where I saw three people in a civilian clothes who started beating me up. I fell and then they kicked me with their feet. I couldn’t resist because my hands were handcuffed behind my back. I was beaten all over my body.

Then about 20 people in uniform or dressed in civilian clothes entered the office, and they all beat me brutally. They periodically beat me on the head with a heavy book.

One of the torturers in civilian clothes started searching my pockets and found 115 Manats (over 60 Euros) and said, “I take 100, and leave you 15.” I demanded to stop it, but in response he kept beating me again. Later, I found out that his name was Ramin.

Then I was dragged into some other room. There I saw an investigator who introduced himself as Javid. I began telling him where I was on 10 July and what had happened to me. At that moment seven policemen entered the room, one of them by the name Samir. He had a stick in his hands and beat me with it, others helped him and beat me up too. The investigator kept sitting in the room but he was silent and just watching. Most of the bruises were on my head and right arm, which immediately swollen and were covered with blood.

Then they picked me up on a chair. An investigator, Javid, said that I had to sign the documents that would qualify me guilty to the Article 315 (Resistance or violence against a member of the authorities – author’s note), and then I could be released in a year or two. “Otherwise, those people will beat you and then we charge you for a lot of crimes. We feel pity for you”. After those words he left the room. And the rest of the people attacked me beating more.

Then they brought me down to the first floor. There, in the corridor, I saw about 30 people who, having raised their hands, were facing the wall, and 7-8 policemen were standing behind hitting them on the head and back. It was the police “special forces”.

I’ve been handed over to those policemen who started beating me with their fists and legs. They knocked me down on the floor and climbed onto my back. Two of them started jumping on my back and I felt unbearable pain in my ribs. I could not cough or sneeze for two months, and I could hardly breathe.

Then they put me up against the wall with others and started hitting again. Two people fainted from the blows, the water was poured over them and they regained consciousness. Then I was taken to the yard of the police station, where there was a policeman with an automatic rifle from the “”special forces team”. I was in a terrible condition; my clothes had been completely torn on me and my head had got swollen. A policeman asked me, “Do you want to be saved? Run and I’ll shoot you. We’ve already shot three of yours anyway”.

I didn’t say a word, didn’t answer him at all. Meanwhile, other detainees were brought to the courtyard. We were taken to the “prisoners’ car” and brought to the Kyapaz District Police Department in Ganja. There, I was taken to the major Nizami’s room, who as soon as he saw me started beating with his fists and legs. I was then taken to the corridor, where I was ordered to lie face down to the floor. After that, they continued beating me again, and soon afterwards everything got dark in my eyes and I fainted. I regained consciousness when I was being dragged into a cell. My cellmates gave me water.

Two or three hours later. I was pulled out of the cell again and brought to a room where I saw some police captain. He unbuttoned his trousers and said that he would defile me, I started screaming and the captain was driven out of the room, but others came to beat me up again. Then they dragged me back to the cell where I was able just to lie down for 3-4 hours. Late at night, all of us were taken out of the cell again and put in a car to transport prisoners. We were 10-12 people. We were transported to the Nizami District Court in Ganja. But even here we were beaten up when we got out of the car. We were brought to the courtroom, where the judge sentenced us to 4 months imprisonment. After that, have been beating us again, they put us in the car and brought to the Kyapaz police station where we all have been left in the cells.

Early in the morning, I was taken out of my cell alone, and brought to the same room on the second floor.  Two men with batons entered the room and began beating me. My hands were handcuffed, I was lying unconscious on the floor. When they dragged me somewhere, I regained consciousness and saw my fingers tied with wire. I raised my head and saw some black machine on the table. They began to pass a current through my body. I collapsed 3-4 times, then with the help of ammonia they brought me to my senses and passed the current through my body again. some other policeman entered the room and said that he wanted to take care of me personally. He passed a very intense current through my body, and it made me scream wildly since I couldn’t stand the pain. My hand have been ruptured, I was unconscious, and I opened my eyes only when the police dragged me into my cell throwing onto my bunk. I haven’t been able to get up for two days.

Then I started to regain my strength and even walk with caution. Then, again I was taken back up to the 2nd floor, where they have been beating me up. And one of the torturers began to tear my hair from my head with his hand. Even 10 months later, I had severe headaches. They hit me with a baton for such a long time that I couldn’t walk or stand up, everything got swollen.

Then I was taken to the disciplinary cell, where they kept me cold without food or water for two days. Only after have spent two days in the disciplinary cell, they let me out and invited a doctor to examine me. He gave me a cream to moisten my body. He also gave me painkillers. After 22 days of brutal tortures, I have been taken out of the cell with a black bag on my head and transported somewhere. I didn’t know where they had been taken me, and I was prepared for the worst. Only the Lord alone knew. Finally I was brought to the Kyurdakhani Pre-trial Detention Center in Baku suburbs.”

28 June

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, the Baku Court of Appeal chaired by the Judge Alizamin Abdullayev from Ganja Serious Crimes Court, held a regular session on the so-called “Ganja cases” of a group of 8 defendants convicted on 02 March 2019 to various terms of imprisonment.

All the defendants who spoke after that did not plead themselves guilty. Ria Nuruzade stated that he along with his brother Gulmirza and friends Fikrat and Sabir had decided to go to the Lake Goygol to have a rest there. Going there they decided to eat and have tea but they did not know any good place on the road, so they came up to the policeman and asked him to point out such a place. Instead the policeman detained them and brought to the Ganja Police Department, saying that they would receive 15 days of administrative arrest, and then would be released home. However, the report stated that they had been detained by the police, and they had resisted, whereas in fact they just had approached the police officer themselves asking where they could eat and drink tea. After that, they were brutally beaten for 4 days, from morning till evening, and demanded to admit that Elman Quliyev had sent them to Ganja to take part in the action.

Then, the accused, Gulmirza Nuruzade, made a statement, saying that they had been forced to admit under the torture that Elman Quliyev had allegedly called them to take part in the action in Ganja, but he had refused to sign such a confession.

When the arrested brothers Sabir and Jabir Azizov started to speak, their mother who was in the hall got sick. Jabir Azizov said, «We were beaten so badly that we were constantly losing consciousness. They beat us from morning till night and kept demanding to admit that Elman Quliyev had called us to Ganja. But why should I slander Elman? I could not stand the beatings any more that I cut my fingers with a blade. I also began to cut myself all over my body wishing to kill myself. I didn’t want to live any longer. I can’t tell you anything else, since our mothers and sisters are here, in the hall, and I am ashamed, let them leave the hall and then I will tell you the whole truth about all kinds of torture we were subjected to. I cannot say what the police have said and done to us with their pants off. How could we stand it?”

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03 July

Jahad Babakishizade

A 22-year-old believer, Jahad Babakishizade, from the village of Nardaran, was seriously wounded, the bullet injured his lungs during a police operation on 26 November 2015.  He was sentenced to 14,5 years imprisonment on 25 January 2017. Due to the lack of qualified medical care in Gobustan Closed Prison he faced serious health problems. His relatives told a correspondent of the agency Veten ugrunda, “From the moment of his injury and arrest, Jahad needs serious medical assistance. We officially appealed two times to the prison administration asking to transfer him to the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service. But it has not been done”.In response to the request from Radio Azadliq (Liberty), Mehman Sadigov, head of the Penitentiary Service’s Public Relations Department, said that it had been impossible to transfer a prisoner to the Medical Unit without a medical examination by their doctor. But there was no such a report.

In turn, Deputy Head of the General Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service, Iftikhar Qurbanov, said that Babakishizade’s state of health had been stable and his life has not been jeopardized, and therefore he was not entitled to treatment.

09 July

Aydyn Qurbanov

On 09 July 2018, Aydyn Qurbanov, who had been arrested on 30 July 2018 in connection to the “Ganja case”, died in the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service. His wife Mahbuba Qurbanova passed that news to the agency Veten ugrunda. She said that her husband, who worked as a broker, was in perfect health prior to his arrest. A month after the assassination attempt on Elmar Valiyev, the Head of the city of Ganja, A. Qurbanov was arrested and demanded to plead himself guilty in financing the mayor’s assassination attempt. Moreover, he had been also obliged to take over the financing and protest actions in Ganja on 10 July. But A. Qurbanov categorically denied to plead himself guilty, and then he was subjected to terrible torture. As his wife said, “He was regularly beaten and electrocuted day and night for some months. When I finally met him 10 months later in prison, I simply did not recognize him. His hands were shaking.”

She added that his internal bleeding started in early March 2019, but he was not examined by the doctors in the Pre-trial Detention Centre. Only when his disease worsened he was finally transferred to a prison hospital on 15 March. In May, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and it turned out that the illness had caused metastases and liver damage. “We have repeatedly asked to release Aydyn because he was already terminally ill,” said Mahbuba Qurbanova. But she and her lawyer, Aqil Lagich, were constantly turned down.

On 08 July Mahbuba Qurbanova visited her husband for the last time and during the meeting Aydyn started vomiting with blood and lost his consciousness collapsing into coma. “Then I went to the Prosecutor General’s Office, where I met with Vugar Nasibov, Deputy Head of the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes. I asked him to let me take Aydyn home that at least he could die at home. The investigator refused to do it explaining that we should wait for the trial,” Mahbuba Qurbanova said. On 10 July, at night, an officer of the Penitentiary Service called her announcing Aydyn Qurbanov’s death.

The prisoner’s death caused a resonance and a great reaction in society. A human right activist Oqtay Gulaliyev expressed the citizens’ opinion saying that the authorities had been responsible for Aydyn Qurbanov’s death and pointed out, “What happened to Aydyn Qurbanov is an indicator of cruelty against him. The man was slandered, arrested, tortured and as a result of all this he lost his life.”

11 July

The Prosecutor General’s Office and  the Penitentiary Service of Ministry of Justice  have issued a joint statement that a 52-year-old Aydyn Qurbanov had been arrested on charges under the Article 228.3 (Illegal possession, transfer, sell, storage and carrying of firearm) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. It was also said, “Some media reported that Aydyn Qurbanov allegedly died as a result of tortures, which is absolutely false. Whilst he had been in the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service neither he or his relatives complained about tortures he had been subjected on. During the examination, treatment and also after his death there were no either traces of tortures or injuries on his body”.

12 July

The society did not accept the authorities official statement concerning Aydyn Qurbanov’s death in the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service. Aydyn Qurbanov was accused in participation at so called “Ganja case”. His case caused a discussion in Azerbaijani Parliament. Thus, the Prosecutor General office made another statement on 12 July. It was said, “Despite an intensive medical treatment at Pre-trial Detention Centre of the Ministry of Justice the accused Aydyn Qurbanov died at 21:50 on 09 July.”Based on the information received from the Prosecutor’s Office of Nizami district the prosecutor’s investigator along with a forensic medical examiner, a medical ward representative and some witnesses inspected a room where the treatment had been provided. Then, in order to find out the cause of his death at midnight of 10 July, A. Qurbanov’s body was sent to the Nizami District Department of the Forensic Medical Expertise and Pathology Anatomy Association. At 10 o’clock in the morning on 10 July, forensic examiners along with the decease’s nephew Suliddin Bayramov examined Aydyn Qurbanov’s body. The examination did not show any trace of injuries or other damages. The same day at 13:30 the body was returned to the decease’s wife and relatives.

16 July

Ogtay Gulaliyev

The head of the Committee Against Repressions and Tortures Ogtay Gulaliyev published a list of law enforcement officials who took part in the “Ganja case” accused tortures. The information has been based on the prisoners’ testimonies, their families’ and lawyers’ stories and described in the human right defender’s report as “Ganja events of 2018: terror, provocation and community protests. Reality or Fake news”, and it was displayed to the public. The list included 17 family names of Azerbaijani enforcement officials.

The list includes the names of 17 persons:

  1. Orkhan Babayev – Investigator of the Investigation Department for Serious Crimes of the General Prosecutor’s Office;
  2. Adalat Sadigov – the former head of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  3. Samir Bayramov – Deputy Chief of the battalion of the post-patrol service of the General Police Department of Ganja City;
  4. Shahin Musayev – Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  5. Vugar Qarayev – Deputy Head of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  6. Afgan Ismayilov – Senior Officer of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  7. Shirkhan Rustamov – overseer of the bullpen of the General Police Department of the Ganja City;
  8. Alaskar Tagiyev – officer of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  9. Bakhtiyar Abbasov – senior police sergeant of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  10. Elshan Mehdiyev – senior officer of the criminal investigation department of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  11. Nizami Askarov – officer of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  12. Parviz Maharramli – officer of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  13. Sanan Verdiyev – officer of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City;
  14. Vusal Qurbanov – officer of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  15. Ilqar Mahammadov – employee of the bullpen of the General Directorate of the Police of Ganja City;
  16. Huseyn Huseynzade – officer of the post patrol service of the Kyapaz District Police Department of Ganja City;
  17. Tajaddin Mammadov – employee of the bullpen of the General Police Department of Ganja City.

Besides, there are other individuals of the government enforcement who subjected tortures on prisoners,  and whose name were known to the inmates, However, the human rights defenders have not been able to determine their positions yet.

29 July

Elmir Huseynzade and his letter from the prison

Elmir Huseynzade, accused on “Ganja case”, sent a letter addressed to his relatives on 25 July. The family passed it to the Veten ugrunda agency correspondent. The agency has published the entire text of that letter on 29 July, and we share it with the cuts here:

“On my way back home, I was stopped and detained by two people in civil clothes near the mosque “Shah Abbas”. They brought me to the Nizami District Police Department. By that time there were so many detainees at the police that it was hard to find an empty place. The police without making any distinction between women, kids and men, made all detainees come down on their knees with their face to the wall and hands raised up. Among those people there were 35-year-old women and a 6-or 7- year-old boy standing next to her. The woman got up and said that she had a problem with her knees asking permission to stand up. Some policeman came up to her and suddenly hit her, and then started to curse her. In response to his vulgarity six young men and a few middle aged people got up to protect the woman. At that moment other policemen hurried up and started severely beating all those people. All women and children were crying and screaming… I was stressed to witness all that.

At the same time the policemen convoyed a 22-23-year-old young woman, apparently a journalist since I noticed next a young man with a camera walking beside her who was surrounded by the policemen. The journalist was trying to say to the policemen that their action is unlawful and they had no right do it. She was immediately kicked with a policeman leg.  She hit her head and wet herself because of fear and pain, which made the policemen laugh and mock at her. Then they attacked the cameraman and started beating him until his face and body got covered with blood.

… Among those detainees there was a citizen of Turkey who was clueless why he had been brought there. 12-14 policemen hit him and yelled on him “why you came here, you wanted to make a military coup, what did you want to do?” And in response, the Turkish man was telling them that he had come here with his family on a business trip, that he did not understand what had been going on, why he had been caught and what they had wanted. His words made the policemen more anguishes and they beat him more with their fists and legs.

At the end of the corridor I was witnessing the policemen kicking and beating a military man, a major, who was lying on the floor. Cries and screams were all over the place. Suddenly, we heard a phone rang and one of the policemen in civil clothes answered and yelled, “What do you mean by stop? We spent so much effort to prepare it, so many officers were called up, and now what? I will…” Then he cursed and screamed “Stop”, turned around and began to hit anyone on his way. His behaviour made others policemen beat us with their fists, kick us with their feet and truncheon. We were not any longer on the knees, we were on the floor in the pool of blood. I have been beaten by 4-5 policemen for about 15-20 minutes…

In the evening, I along with 10 others were separated from the group and taken to some other place.  The policemen were standing in range in the corridor beating everyone who passed by as strong as they could. Beating and cursing us, they managed to put us in two vans “Mercedes-Sprinter” and brought to the Tovuz District Police Department. While we were in the vans, we were not allowed to sit, they put us on the floor and kept beating with truncheon all the way to the Tovuz district. My head was smashed, I was bleeding. Seeing that, the driver told the cops not to dirty his car with blood. Then one of the policemen grabbed my hair and started hitting and dragging me on the floor of the car.

In the Tovuz police department, we were pushed into a cell in the basement where we saw two minors, they were also beaten and bleeding, their clothes were torn off. They were in a terrible state. Meanwhile, the policemen periodically walked into our cell and beat us.

In the morning, 16 hours later after our arrest, we were not given any water, food or medical care. Soon, a man in civilian clothes came into our cell.  Apparently, he was an investigator. Some people with papers in their hands followed him. At that moment one of the minors started to shake and fainted. They poured water on him and hardly brought him to his senses. Only after that they gave us water and we were able to regain our senses.

Then we were brought to the Nizami District Curt in Ganja where I was given 20 days of administrative arrest. I didn’t have a lawyer, and I told the judge that I had been beaten up brutally as soon as I started talking, and the police ordered me to keep silence threatening to kill me in case of disobedience. I told the judge that my bleeding wounds on my face and body were speaking instead of me but the judge either did not listen to me, or look at me, he just read his verdict and quickly left. Then I was brought back to the Tovuz Police Station and pushed into the pre-trial detention cell. I have just laid down in order to get rest, as five guards entered the cell. It turned out that there was a video surveillance in the cell and when they saw me lying down, they immediately came in and attacked me with their truncheons. Before they left, they had said that it was forbidden to go to bed and sleep until 22:00.

We were awaken at 8 a.m. every day and banned from going to bed until 10:00 p.m., once a day we were allowed to get out in a small prison yard for 10-15 minutes. On July 20, on the 10th day of my arrest, I was unexpectedly taken to the Nizami District Police Department in Ganja and brought to the office of the head of the department, Adalat Sadigov. There were also 6-7 people in a civil clothes in the room. The head showed me a video asking, “Are you there on video?” I just nodded when Sadigov jumped up and started beating me, and then ordered “Take him to them”. They took me to a poorly lit room and there, someone immediately hit me on the floor, chained my arms and legs, then put shoulder straps on my eyes and bandaged them with scotch, and started beating me. There were about 8-9 tormentors. They put me in this position on the table, and then began to beat me on the heels with truncheons. Then two very large guys climbed onto my back and began to stab me with their feet. They kept beating me from morning till night. I lost consciousness time to time.

At the Nizami District Police Department, the investigator Orhan Babayev interrogated me at some point. I told him everything but when he asked me to sign the testimony, I saw that he had written something completely different there, attributing to me what I had not done. I refused to sign, and then the investigator left the room.  Right after two large physically strong guys with fierce facial expressions, not dressed in uniforms, entered the room. They started hitting me and I was like a ball flying from wall to wall. My face was completely covered in blood and I was taken to the toilet to wash my face. However, even there, they continued their torture hitting my head against the tiles, scolding and cursing, threatening to kill me.

I was terrified. I was afraid to be beaten to death, and finally, realizing that I wouldn’t be able to stand it any longer, I agreed to sign this “statement”.

After that, the lawyer appointed by the authorities, Hidayat Mammadov, immediately came but as soon as he saw me beaten and bleeding, refused to sign my “testimony”. The investigator grabbed the lawyer, hit him against the wall and in anger, showing his fist with said, “What do you mean saying you refused to sign? Sign quickly, I am telling you!” The lawyer asked him to stop threatening him and kept saying that he would not sign it. It was as if I had seen a light of hope, but the investigator left the lawyer alone and called someone, after which he handed over the phone to the lawyer. And then I saw as the lawyer signing with shaking hand my testimony and the rest of the papers, after which he left…

After that, I was taken to the Nizami District Court, where I was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment. Then I was taken to the Pre-detention Centre # 2 in Ganja where I was beaten up beforehand and then put in a punishment cell, where I had  stayed for 4 days. I could only drink tap water and I was given dried bread twice a day, although I couldn’t eat anything because of the pain.

On 24 July, in the evening, I was brought to Baku Pre-trial Detention Center #1. I hadn’t been in contact with my relatives for 8 months, visits and phone conversations were forbidden. My lawyer could not do anything, and I could read my case papers only 8 months later, when investigation has been completed.

I still do not understand why I was arrested and what I am accused of.

One day, being in my cell I met a guy from Shamkir district whom I was talking to. He said that Rashad Boyukkishiyev, who had been accused by the law enforcement of killing the police colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev in the course of the action on 10 July 2018, hid in his home in Mogul village. “The policemen found out about it and grabbed him calmly waiting up for my return home. As soon as I walked in, the police shot Rashad in front of my eyes and then officially stated that he had been killed, allegedly in an armed resistance. When I heard all this, I realized that the authorities’ official version was fictitious and designed for naive people.

I have been imprisoned for more than a year. I have been a victim of someone’s political games… I have gone through terrible physical and moral torture…

On 14 March 2019, the trial on my case has begun, and it keeps going until now. My case is being conducted by Dadash Imanov, a judge of the Ganja Serious Crimes Court, but all the trials are held in the Sabunchi District Court in Baku. My parents have been traveling from Ganja to Baku all the time, and have been suffering unimaginable hardship since then.

25 July 2019

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07 August

Shahin Verdiyev

The agency Veten ugrunda published the convicted in the “Ganja case” Shahin Verdiyev’s letter on 7 August. The letter was sent to his mother from the prison on 28 July 2019. Shahin described horrible tortures he had been subjected to after his arrest in Ganja.

It is written in the letter that Shahin Verdiyev witnessed the events in the center of Ganja by accident on 10 July 2018. When he saw the crowd, he and his friend Elmir Huseynzade headed towards the administrative executive power building and then to the hotel “Ganja». There they saw the police officers carrying in their arms a policeman.

“We entered the mosque courtyard and kept going in direction to our place of residence, but there were people running around and we decided to move away from there,” Verdiyev wrote. But in the chaos, the two friends lost each other. Later, Shahin Verdiyev found out that his friend had been captured.  However, at that time he went to the village of Khoylu in the Tartar district, where his father was dying.

A few days later, his father died. When he was preparing for the funeral, two policemen cars drove into the village and they said, “You killed your father, you have to come with us to give us an explanation”. He trusted them and went to the Goranboy district police department, and two hours later he was taken with his hands tied to the Nizami district police department in Ganja.

When he was brought to the police department, to some room where, besides the chief, there were also many people in the civil clothes. He was shown a video and asked if he recognized himself and what he was doing there. Verdiyev replied positively and said that he had become a witness while he had been just passing by. Immediately after that, several people started beating him up. “Knocked down, several people in civil clothes dragged me into another room, keeping beating me on the way. I was tied to a chair in that room, my hands were also tied in the back, and my eyes were covered with the police shoulder straps and taped. I was beaten so much that my whole body was covered in blood. I was thrown up tied to the chair to the ceiling and pushed on the floor several times, then beaten with truncheons or whatever they could catch. Then they stopped and opened my eyes. There were only two policemen left in the room. ”

He fainted from the brutal beatings. The doctors called in by the police brought Verdiyev to his senses. “Early morning I was taken to the policeman on duty room, behind the bars. But not for a long time. They came to get and take me up to the second floor, where I saw 3-4 policemen. They tied my arms and legs to two chairs and I was hanging in the air in this position. Meanwhile, the police were beating me on the stomach, body and head with truncheons.”

When the police officers got tired of doing it, they were replaced by others. They were beating him non-stop. He did not receive any food, any water.

Then the policemen told him to wash up and took him to the toilet. His hands were handcuffed from behind. “I saw that the sink was full of water. They pushed my head in the water and kept me there for a long time. I was drowning… My heart was ready to explode. At some point, when I thought I was going to suffocate, my head was raised, I was again beaten, and put back into the sink. Then they dragged me to another room and continued to beat me there.”

His handcuffed hands were in the wounds and blood. Then they uncuffed him and tied his hands tightly with a rope.

Beatings and bullying had been going on for several days. He was demanded to admit that he had known the riots organizers, in particular, the one who had been killed during the arrest, a man whose name was Rashad, “On the phone I was shown a photo, the corpse of this Rashad whose hands were tied, his face and the whole body were black. I saw obvious traces of bullets on his body. The policeman told me that if I wouldn’t confess that I had known that Rashad, I would face his fate. But I replied that that I had never met him and I had happened to be at the square by accident, after which I was tortured with a 20-25 cm long stun gun. A current passed through my body for just 3-5 seconds, but those seconds seemed to me like eternity.”

He fainted because of those tortures, and the doctor took care of him giving him a shot until he got conscious again. Then the torture with current continued. “I could not control my teeth trembling each time the current passed through my body. I still remember my teeth knocking. When I fainted, they poured water on me to bring me back to my senses and then let the current pass through me again. And again, I fainted…”

When Shahin Verdiyev recovered, he saw that the doctors giving him an injection, “They said that I was in bad condition. But the police said to them “he will not die, you have brought him to consciousness and now you can leave.” The beatings were replaced by electrocution and stun guns. And it had been lasted for several days. From time to time some unknown people in civil clothes entered the room demanding me to sign a confession. My attempts to read what was written in this testimony ended up in beatings. That was quietly watched by a man who called himself Araz, apparently my lawyer. I was exhausted, I could not tolerate those tortures anymore, and I signed all the documents that I had been handed,” Verdiyev wrote in his letter.

After that, he was taken to the district court of Ganja. He continued to be beaten by the police officers on the way and even in front of a judge in the courthouse. The judge looked indifferently at the detainee and sentenced him to four months imprisonment. After that, Shahin Verdiyev was brought back to the Ganja prison, where the officers kept beating him and  three other prisoners and, then they all were thrown into a disciplinary cell, handcuffed to a bed and tied to a chair. All this time they were not allowed to drink or eat.

“Late we were taken to the doctors and they recorded numerous wounds on our bodies. But for some reason I have not seen these doctors’ records anywhere afterwards”, concluded Sh. Verdiyev.

Those brutal tortures and assaults on prisoners had been going on for several months. On 25 July 2019, Verdiyev and other detainees were transferred to the Kyurdakhani detention centre, where the tortures and harassment continued.

09 August


Mirza Huseynov

Mirza Huseynov, a 24-year-old prisoner, wrote a letter to the Judge of the Ganja Court of Serious Crimes, Dadash Imanov, complaining about the police brutality in his native town. His mother, Etibar Huseynov, decided to give a copy of his letter to the mass media, particularly to the correspondent of the agency Veten ugrunda, the letter in which her son described the tortures he had been subjected to.

In his letter he wrote that he had learned from Facebook about the upcoming protest action in Ganja on 10 July 2018, «I was curious and went to the square where I saw a lot of people gathering all over the place. Suddenly I heard screams, people started running in different directions, and I ran as well.”

On 29 July, in the evening, when he was returning home, three policemen approached him and suddenly pushed him into the car. He was brought to the Kyapaz Police Station and asked if he had known Rashad. Having heard the negative reply, four policemen at a time attacked him, “They covered my eyes with the police shoulder straps with scotch tape on the top. Then they started beating me with their fists and legs, demanding to confess that I knew that unknown for me Rashad. But I answered that I had not ever me him and I had not been guilty in anything. But they beat me again and again,” M. Huseynov wrote in a letter.

Then he was brought to the Nizami Police Department in Ganja, where they demonstrated a video capturing M. Huseynov running. He was forced to sign some documents. There was a man in the room who called himself his lawyer, «I signed all the required papers without reading them to stop the tortures. After that I was literally dragged into the office of the Pre-Trial Detention Center chief of the Ganja Police Department. There I also signed some papers at his request, and after that I was pushed into the cell”.

Huseynov’s hope that the tortures would be stopped was not realized. On the contrary, he was tortured and beaten every day, “My hands were handcuffed, I was drugged to another room, where four policemen were beating me demanding to sign something again. But I insisted to have a lawyer. Instead, they passed a current through my body and I fainted. I was splashed with cold water and regained consciousness. Then they pulled a cellophane net over my head and I began choking. When I was suffocating and thought I was going to die, they stopped it and I was able to breathe. Then the cellophane was squeezed again… Someone came into the room and asked if I had signed the papers. When he heard a negative answer, he hit with all his strength my face. I was in a very bad shape, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and signed their papers. Then I found out who was that man. It was the Series Crimes investigator of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Orhan Babayev,” M. Huseynov wrote in his letter.


Investigator of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Orhan Babayev

Only after that a lawyer was allowed to enter the room, and M. Huseynov told him that he couldn’t stand the tortures and signed all the papers that he had been given. Together with his lawyer he was taken to the Nizami district court, “The lawyer told me to keep silence and he would decide himself what to do. Both he and the judge saw that I had been bleeding and could hardly stand on my feet. But I was given 4 months of arrest and returned to the cell of the Ganja city prison.

“On 24 July, in the evening, we were transferred to the Kyurdakhani Pre-trial Detention Centre in Baku, and since then I have been there. Later on, I heard a voice of one of those who tortured me. It was Elshan Mehdiyev. And I wrote about him to the court.”

10 August


Theologian Ruhulla Akhundzade

A prisoner, theologian Ruhulla Akhundzade, the Chairman of the Astara District Organization of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, had serious health problems. His health issues were reported to the agency Turan by his relatives, “His legs got paralyzed. We demand the prison administration to provide Ruhulla with urgent treatment,” Akhundzade’s family member said to the agency Turan correspondent.

Ruhulla Akhundzade was arrested in January 2011. Also in 2011, the Baku Court of Serious Crimes sentenced him to 11.5 years imprisonment on charges of attempting to change the constitutional order, setting up an armed group, illegal possession of weapons, etc. He denied all accusations. Human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.

After his arrest, in 2013, he underwent a heart surgery.

26 August


Vugar Yusifov

Another letter from a “Ganja case” prisoner concerning the brutal torture he had been subjected to, appeared in the media. This time, a copy of the letter was handed over to the correspondent of the agency Veten ugrunda by the mother of the accused Vugar Yusifov, whose case had being considered by the Judge Dadash Imanov in the Sabunchi District Court in Baku.

The defendant wrote that he came from Shamkir to Ganja to buy a phone in the evening on 10 July 2018. Since the shops had been already closed, he could not make the purchase. Having read the information about the rally on social networks, he suggested his fellow traveler Elish to go to the direction of the administrative building and see what was going on there.

When they were about to leave, suddenly there heard some shouting, “When I turned around, I saw two people lying on the road at about 80-90 meters away from me, and another one with a dagger in his hands. “  In order to find out what was going on, V. Yusifov went in the direction where the crowd was running down as well. “I was looking for my friend Elish in the crowd, and the video footage clearly showed that I was looking for someone. Rashad Boyukkishiyev, accused of two policemen murder, passed by me. That frame was used in the investigation as an accusation against me,” V. Yusifov wrote in his letter.

On 23 July, he was detained and taken to the Kyapaz Police Station in Ganja, where several police officers were beating him for hours and passing periodically electric current through him. The pain was so unbearable that “I could not stand it and tried to kill myself throwing out of the second floor window. But I failed to do it because my hands were handcuffed behind my back,” Yusifov wrote.

For several days they brutally tortured me and demanded to sign some papers. Finally, I couldn’t stand it and signed without reading it, I wanted the torture to be stopped. The state-appointed lawyer also signed the papers without reading them. If I’m not mistaken, his name was Tazagul and he was from Mingachevir. I was told so, he did not introduce himself to me,” V. Yusifov said in his letter.

After that he was brought to court, “I could hardly stand on my feet, my whole body was covered with wounds. The judge also saw it, but he quickly sentenced me to 4 months of arrest and I was brought back to the cell of the Kyapaz police station in Ganja. At first, the policemen wanted to continue beating, but they realized that I was in a very bad shape and sent me to cell # 58 of the 3rd ward of the city prison. I could not even get up. But I was able to get back on my feet with my cellmates help in a month. All that time I was not allowed to meet or talk to my relatives by phone. Later I found out that all those arrested in connection with these events had been sent to Baku. Only I was in a Ganja prison for a month and a half, because the policemen were waiting until my terrible wounds would be cured. And only after that I was brought to Baku,» said in the letter.

During the house and cell phone search nothing illegal was found by the police. However, Yusifov was accused of preparing a murder, participating in mass riots, trafficking of weapons and violence against the police. “I have been under the arrest for 13 months and I still don’t know what I am accused of. I just wanted to see the action. The video captured me walking around the square and not touching anybody, I did not have any guns, stone, any nothing. I wasn’t shouting anything, I was just watching, and that’s all. What kind of participation in the riots are we talking about? I don’t know any of the other detainees. I was detained on 23 July. If I had been guilty, I would have hidden during those 13 days,” Yusifov wrote in conclusion.


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04 September

Habib Qurbanov

Another detainee in the “Ganja case” wrote about torture he had been subjected to in connection with the Ganja events of 10 July 2018. On 4 September, the agency Veten ugrunda published a copy of the letter of the accused Habib Qurbanov that was sent by his relatives. H. Qurbanov wrote that he was caught on video footage of participants on 10 July. “I had not been resisting, and the video clearly showed that I did not hit any policeman, and I had not either stones, knife, stick or anything else in my hands,” said in the letter.

H. Qurbanov heard that the police had been looking for him on 12 July. Having learnt about it, he and his father went to the Nizami police station in the city of Ganja. Barely entering the building, they encountered enmity towards themselves. He was beaten with fists and legs and then taken upstairs into the Police Chief Adalat Sadygov’s office. There he was shown a video. As soon as H. Qurbanov said that he hadn’t touched any of the policemen and it was seen on the video, Adalat Sadigov began beating him and this can be seen in the video, as Adalat Sadigov began beating him. Have tired, he ordered the other policemen to question H. Qurbanov in another room. He was taken to a large room on the second floor, where they tied his hands and legs, and then 15 policemen began beating him with their fists and feet. “Because of unbearable pain I started to scream and the police officers immediately covered my eyes and mouth with shoulder straps and duct tape. Then they continued beating me. I fainted, they poured water on my face and I got back to my senses. But my eyes were still covered with dust tape”, the accused wrote in his letter.

But it was not the end of his suffering. Again, he was electrocuted and as a result of torture he fainted. When he was back to his senses, they restarted their tortures with more violence. In the evening, he couldn’t walk at all and was brought back to his cell. His cellmates gave him water and provided some assistance.

He has been tortured for two days. He was constantly shown pictures though he did not recognize anyone. And then, he was beaten again.

Then, together with six other detainees, he was taken to the Kyapaz District Police Station, where all of them were brutally beaten.

A day later they were taken to the Ganja Court on Serious Crimes. “Two policemen by the name of Shirkhan and Ilham took me to the court cellar and beat me there again. And then they dragged me upstairs to the courtroom. The judge even did not look at me and authorized my arrest for four months. After that, the police pulled me back into the court cellar. And from there, they took me by car to the Ganja Detention Centre”, H. Qurbanov recalled in his letter.

They took everybody’s fingerprints and blood for analysis in the detention center and we were asked about our body wounds, “I answered that I had been beaten by the policemen. They wrote something down but I was not shown what it was. I found out later that it had not been written in the report, so I didn’t have any wounds on my body according to the police written statement”.

Qurbanov has not been allowed to meet with relatives or talk to them on the phone for 8 months. “And 11 months later, they came to us examining our bodies in search of injuries. They did it through the glass in the courtroom. We were asking them why they began to examine our bodies now, 11 months later, what marks of the batons could be seen now? They replied, ‘It’s not up to us,'” recalled Qurbanov in his letter.

After that, H. Qurbanov wrote a complaint that no one had reacted to his case and the torture he had been subjected to. “But someone at the Sabayil District Court told me, – we are sorry, but nothing depends on us. I am not guilty, I didn’t do anything wrong. I haven’t understood yet, what I was accused of. When I asked the judge, I was told that they had previously told me about it during the investigation. But nobody told me anything about my crimes and what I am guilty of,” concluded H. Qurbanov in his letter.

23 September

Ahsan Nuruzade

One of the leaders of the Muslim Unity Movement, political prisoner Ahsan Nuruzade, was subjected of repression. He was arrested in 2017 and in March, 2018, was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment. First he was transferred to Colony #13, but due to his efforts to help prisoners there he was soon relocated to Colony #6, where he was kept for 8 months. In September 2019, several prisoners on the “Ganja case” arrived at this colony. As A. Nuruzade’s relatives told a correspondent of the agency Veten ugrunda, he tried to help these prisoners, too. He also applied to the colony management with a request for medical assistance to the newly arrived prisoners. His request caused the management frustration. First of all, he received a warning. And then, on 22 September, Ahsan Nuruzade was placed in a punishment cell for his activity. The day after, A. Nuruzade called his relatives and said that he had been transferred to the Colony № 17  in order to avoid contacts with the “Ganja case” prisoners.

27 September


Leyla Ismayilzade

On 27 September, Leyla Ismayilzade, Tale Bagirzade’s spouse, was called to the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Justice, where she was charged under the Article 317-1.1 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (transfer or sending secretly prohibited items to convicted people). Her husband is the leader of Muslim Unity Movement.

Leyla Ismayilzade informed a correspondent of the website Caucasian Knot that on 21 March this year along with their children came to visit her husband who was kept in the Gobustan prison. They gave their belongings for inspection and went inside. “We handed our things over for inspection and were already with Tale. After a while, our belongings were brought in and Tale was shown a mobile phone that had been found in the bag of our three-year-old son Abbas. It was his grandfather’s phone, which we had been looking for at home for two days. Abbas had been watching cartoons on his phone and it turned out that he had put the phone together with his toys in the bag. Then the Penitentiary Service made a statement launching an investigation against me. It is not the first Tale’s term, and I know well what can and cannot be brought to him,” Ismayilzade said.

She thinks the Penitentiary Service made up the case to put pressure on her husband.

“There was no need to initiate criminal proceedings. As early as 21 March, I wrote in an explanatory note at the Gobustan prison that the phone was usually carried in secretly. I passed out all the bags for inspection. Our child put the phone in his bag without our knowledge,” said Bagirzade’s wife.

Ismayilzade’s lawyer, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, believes there are no grounds to persecute his client. “In our opinion, this case has no legal grounds. The woman had no intention of bringing the phone through. She was not caught red-handed while handing the phone over in person or the phone had not been found at Bagirzade’s possession post factum,” Mehdiyev told a correspondent of the Caucasian Knot.

The penitentiary service’s public relations department confirmed that a mobile phone had been found in Ismayilzade’s belongings during a visit to her husband in prison, and an investigation had been launched into the matter. No comments could be obtained from the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Justice.

It should be noted that Ismayilzade is charged with the Article that stipulates a fine of 1,000-2,000 AZN (600-1,200 USD) or 2-year-correctional labour, or imprisonment for two years.

29 September


Eshgin Quliyev before his arrest

Eshgin Quliyev after his arrest in the courtroom (in the middle with a medical mask

On 29 September, Eshgin Quliyev, who had been arrested on charges of participation in July 2018 rally in Ganja, died in the prison hospital. According to the Azerbaijani human rights activists, he had a number of serious diseases and his health condition had been aggravated by the torture and unfair conviction.

On 19 September, the court sentenced a group of seven defendants in the Ganja riot case. Eshgin Quliyev was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. But neither he nor the other convicts pleaded guilty.

Quliyev died of “cardiopulmonary insufficiency accompanied with deep coma, fourth stage AIDS, viral hepatitis C, anemia, and a brain tumor,” the Public Relations Department of the Penitentiary Service told a Caucasus Knot correspondent. According to the Ministry’s representative, all these diseases had been diagnosed in the Baku detention center in August 2018, since then he had been in the prison hospital.

The head of the Committee against Repressions and Tortures, Oqtay Gulaliyev, said that Quliyev’s condition was nevertheless aggravated as a result of the torture during the preliminary investigation and “psychological shock from an unjust conviction”. “Monitoring of the trial showed that Eshgin Quliyev, like many other defendants in the “Ganja case”, was wrongfully convicted. This guy is innocent. His diseases were deteriorated by the lack of effective treatment. This is the second case of the accused in the “Ganja case” death. Aydyn Qurbanov died in July,” Gulaliyev told a “Caucasus Knot” correspondent.

Quliyev’s death drew attention to the judicial and legal system of Azerbaijan imperfections, Samira Agayeva, the Deputy chairman of the D-18 civil movement, said. “Following Aydyn Qurbanov’s death, Eshgin Quliyev died in prison. A study of their cases gave grounds to believe that the men had been arrested without reliable evidence of guilt and on the top they had been subjected to torture. All this jeopardized their health and led to their death. Our organization issued a statement and demanded an independent judicial system that would guard citizens’ rights and protect them from unjustified prosecution on fabricated charges. We have also demanded to cease tortures,” Agayeva told a Caucasus Knot correspondent

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9 October

The killed believer Aga Sarkhani

The widow, Sevinj Sarkhani, of the Ganja resident and a member of the “Muslim Unity” Movement Aga Sarkhani, who was killed by the special police unit of Azerbaijan on 25 July  2018, has spread a video message, in which she claimed the pressure on her by the law enforcement authorities. She said in her video message that for over a year she had been trying in vain to get her husband’s body in order to bury him properly. According to her words, following her appeal to the various state bodies, she was summoned to the Kyapaz District Police Department in Ganja and asked to cease her complaints. Otherwise, they threatened  her with massacre of her children.

Sevinj Sarkhani further indicated that after being summoned to the police, she was followed by some people in civilian clothes. She accused the Ganja authorities of possible damage to the health and life of her family members.


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