Tofig Yagublu, a member of the Coordination Center of the National Council of Democratic Forces and the Musavat Party, both well-developed opposition parties in Azerbaijan, has stated that police handcuffed and tortured him for about an hour in a detention center following the country’s latest anti-government protest.
“They came in and handcuffed me and then they took me downstairs. They locked me in a room and beat me for about an hour,” Yagublu said while speaking at the Baku Court of Appeals on 2 November.
Yagublu was detained along with hundreds of protestors including Ali Karimli, the head of the Popular Front Party (PFPA) on 19 October when Azerbaijan experienced its largest opposition rally in recent years.
Noting that he had not violated any laws, Yagublu said he has complained about the ill-treatment to the prosecutor's office, although he does not expect a fair decision.
“The government is supposed to be committed to protecting people's rights. They have committed crimes against me. In an institute where my rights should be protected, I was been tortured. Those who committed this crime must be punished,” Yagublu said.
Yaqublu's lawyer Nemat Karimli stated that Azerbaijani legislation on freedom of assembly has been considerably restricted in recent years.
“The European Court of Human Rights also mentions in their rulings that it should have very serious grounds for restricting this freedom. It cannot be restricted in general terms. Moreover, Tofig Yagublu was detained before he even arrived at the meeting,” Karimli said.
The lawyer noted that there were visible injuries on Yagublu’s body and requested for the medical examination.
Judge Aflatun Gasimov has dismissed the appeal.
Yagublu’s daughter Nigar Hezi told Radio Liberty that a complaint will be filed to the European Court of Human Rights.
Azerbaijani opposition coalition, the National Council of Democratic Forces, held an unauthorized protest in central Baku on 19 October. It was brutally dispersed by police officers the same day. Tens of activists were rounded up, beaten and violently taken to custody centers. Among those detained was PFPA leader Karimli, who law enforcement officers inflicted serious injuries on.
According to official figures, police detained 60 participants, released 42 with a warning and sent the other 18 cases to administrative courts.