Ombudsman’s Office Says Youths Not Tortured

May 19th, 2016

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Members of the National Preventive Group against Torture under Azerbaijan’s Ombudsman have visited youth activists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov at Baku Detention Center, the Ombudsman’s Office said.

Opposition NIDA Civic Movement members Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov were arrested on May 10, 2016. Both activists are charged were charged under Articles 234.4.1 (illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics, psychotropic substances or their precursors – on preliminary arrangement by a group of persons or by an organized group) and 234.4.3 (- in a large amount) of Criminal Code. Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were ordered detained for 4 months by Khatai District Court’s decision of May 12, 2016.

Youth activist Giyas Ibrahimov had written “Happy Slave Holiday” and “fuck the system” on the late Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev’s statue facing the Central Bank near the 28-May metro station, and Bayram Mammadov had taken a photo of the slogans on the statue. The youths were subjected to torture during interrogation at the police office. The youth activists have written personal statements about the torture and their lawyers have filed complaints with relevant authorities over the fact of torture.

According to the statement of Ombudsman’s Office, members of Ombudsman’s National Preventive Group visited Baku Detention Center of the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice without prior notice.

The statement reads that National Preventive Group (NPG) members held one-on-one meetings with Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, who were held in the said facility. It is said that the above mentioned individuals’ bodies were inspected with the participation of an NPG member who is a doctor. No injury was reportedly found during the inspection.

According to the statement, Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were satisfied with their detention conditions at Baku Detention Center and were able to freely contact their families by phone and to meet with their lawyer.

The youth activists’ lawyer Elchin Sadigov said that the Ombudsman Office’s statement did not reflect reality. “When I met with Bayram Mammadov at the detention center on May 18, he said that the Ombudsman’s representatives even took photos of his injuries and both youths informed them about the torture they had been subjected to. Although they acknowledged that Bayram Mammadov’s body bore injury marks, they said it had not been caused by torture. Bayram Mammadov objected, saying that the cut and festering wound on his wrist was caused by being pulled by handcuffs, the cuts on his ankles was caused by fetters and the wounds on his body by baton, punches and kicks,” Elchin Sadigov said.

On a side note, Ombudsman’s representatives have never ever confirmed the facts of torture and violence against inmates a single time.