TORTURE IN MAY 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.“
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.