The ongoing case of the rape of a 17-year-old high-school girl was reported in the Azerbaijani province of Beylegan last week.
A video record of the event was submitted to Meydan TV, in which several boys are witnessed raping the victim.
She was reportedly coerced into the act by her boyfriend, who threatened her with compromising photos.
According to the anonymous individual who submitted the video, the victim has been forced to have intercourse more than 20 times in a similar fashion.
An investigation has been ongoing since Friday when the report was first filed, as a result of which four individuals were detained. Two of them were shortly released by the police, that claimed they were too young to be held criminally accountable. The two released were the victim’s ‘boyfriend’ and the individual responsible for the filming of the event.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov told Meydan TV in an interview that the age of criminal accountability in Azerbaijan is 16 – however this may be lowered to 14 in special circumstances, such as homicide, serious injury, abduction, terrorism and rape.
“In this case, they [two released individuals] need to be detained and their release was illegal. Being 14 years old is enough to be held criminally liable”, Imanov said.
The individual who submitted the video to Meydan TV claims that “the perpetrators’ families are rich and influential in the region and are trying to hush up the incident. The girl’s family is very poor. . . The other families have offered large amounts of money to the police to close the investigation”.
The family of the victim says that the police became more active in the case after the media publicized the event. However, the family is still not satisfied with progress.
“Yesterday, provincial authorities came to the school and chose a new director for the school – the teacher in whose class the incident took place. How can that be?!” a family member of the victim told Meydan TV who asked to remain unnamed.
The incident allegedly took place after the teacher excused pupils from school for the day, citing the cold as a reason and left the classroom first.
“Had the teacher been in the class, the incident would not have taken place”, the family added.
Resident of Beylegan say that the choice of this teacher in particular is a sign that the authorities “don’t care about us. The choice of that teacher as director will bring about the silence of the other teachers. No one will speak out that day and say that the class was empty”.
Khuraman Rustamova, the head of Beylegan Provincial Education Body, denied that the incident took place in a talk with Meydan TV. She was unable to explain the absence of the victim from school following the incident.