Member of Azerbaijani religious opposition group Muslim Unity Movement Elgiz Mammadov made a shocking statement on June 19, right after his release from 30-day arrest. In an interview with prominent journalist Sevinj Osmangizi, Mammadov claimed that he was raped by police officers in an unknown place before being escorted to a jail.
Mammadov was arrested, together with three more religious activists, in front of Baku Grave Crimes Court on May 20 while waiting the news from the trial of fellow member of the Movement Razi Humbatov. They were charged with disobedience to police, while Humbatov was sentenced to 6-year arrest on drug-related charges.
Another religious activist Mail Karimov, who was also arrested alongside Mammadov but released the next day, also previously voiced the torture allegations. According to Karimov, he was first taken to a local police station and then to the Main Organized Crime Department of the Interior Ministry, he told local news outlet vetenugrunda.az.
They dropped me to the ground with my face facing the ground, started kicking me on the head. Then they climbed on my back and started jumping up and down. They were swearing with the ugliest words. They were also swearing God.Mail Karimov
Following Karimov’s statement, the imprisoned chairman of the Movement Taleh Baghirzada went on hunger strike on June 3, demanding “the punishment for those who insulted God while torturing citizens”. Then six more religious activists in prison joined Baghirzada’s hunger strike, and as of today Baghirzada is on the 17th day of his hunger strike.
The Interior Ministry had previously denied the claims of torture and insults.