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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                        

Republic of Azerbaijan

International observers have consistently concluded that both torture and impunity for the perpetrators of such abuse are endemic in the Azerbaijani criminal justice system. Police regularly administer beatings during arrest or while breaking up protests. Prison conditions are substandard; medical care is generally inadequate, and overcrowding is common.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Azerbaijan

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Azerbaijan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Azerbaijani soldier’s mother tells about her son’s torture

Armenian information-analytical agency, 15 April 2019

[accessed 19 May 2019]

"On May 18, 2017, at three o'clock in the morning, he was taken away from his home in Ganja to Terter. He was accused of treason and subjected to terrible torture," writes the human rights activist, referring to Huseynov's mother: "... He was hung upside down and an electric current was passed through his head. He was beaten until he lost consciousness and committed other degrading actions, demanding to confess to working for the Armenians.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 14 May 2020]


International observers have consistently concluded that both torture and impunity for the perpetrators of such abuse are endemic in the Azerbaijani criminal justice system. Police regularly administer beatings during arrest or while breaking up protests. Prison conditions are substandard; medical care is generally inadequate, and overcrowding is common.

Azerbaijan: torture, impunity and corruption highlighted in new anti-torture committee publications

Council of Europe, 18 July 2018

[accessed 2 June 2020]

The CPT’s overall impression of the situation in Azerbaijan is that torture and other forms of physical ill-treatment by the police and other law enforcement agencies, corruption in the whole law enforcement system and impunity remain systemic and endemic. The Committee’s reports contain detailed recommendations designed to address these problems.

The Committee has repeatedly observed, most recently during its ad hoc visit in October 2017, that torture and other forms of severe physical ill-treatment of persons detained by the police, other law enforcement agencies and the army remain widespread, and there is a serious problem of impunity (lack of effective investigations) and ineffective legal safeguards for detained persons (access to a lawyer, notification of custody, access to a doctor, information on rights). Moreover, the findings during the 2017 ad hoc visit suggest the existence of a generalised culture of violence among the staff of various law enforcement agencies.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Azerbaijan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 4 July 2021]


While the constitution and criminal code prohibit such practices and provide for penalties for conviction of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, credible allegations of torture and other abuse continued. Most mistreatment took place while detainees were in police custody, where authorities reportedly used abusive methods to coerce confessions and denied detainees access to family, independent lawyers, or independent medical care.


According to prison monitoring conducted by a reputable organization prior to the onset of COVID-19, prison conditions reportedly were sometimes harsh and potentially life threatening due to overcrowding; inadequate nutrition; deficient heating, ventilation, and sanitation; and poor medical care. Detainees also complained of inhuman conditions in the crowded basement detention facilities of local courts where they were held while awaiting their hearings.

Torture, impunity, and corruption ‘endemic’ in Azerbaijani law enforcement

OC Media, 19 July 2018

[accessed 22 July 2018]

Torture, impunity, and corruption, are ‘endemic’ in Azerbaijani law enforcement agencies and armed forces, according to a report published on Thursday by the Council of Europe (CoE). The report said the institutions were plagued by a ‘generalised culture of violence’ among their staff.

Slaps, punches, kicks, electric shocks, and blows from a baseball bat were among the abuses in police detention observed by the CoE’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture during a 2017 visit. The committee urged Azerbaijan’s authorities to carry out effective investigations into the maltreatment, and called on President Ilham Aliyev to deliver a clear public message of ‘zero tolerance’ for such abuses.

The committee’s overall conclusions were highly critical. They slammed Azerbaijani law enforcement agencies for a systematic failure to protect detainees’ rights — including access to a lawyer and a doctor — or effectively investigate allegations of maltreatment. Gnatovskyy urged the Azerbaijani authorities to take ‘decisive action to stamp out torture in the country’.

Lawyer Disbarred in Azerbaijan After Filing Torture Complaint

Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch, 27 Nov 2017

[accessed 28 November 2017]

In early August 2017, after visiting his client, Abbas Huseynov, in Gobustan prison, Imanov gave interviews to media outlets, saying his client was repeatedly beaten and tortured by the prison staff and put in punishment cells under inhumane conditions. The lawyer reported that multiple bruises were visible on Huseynov’s body, and he could hardly sit and had difficulties walking.

A month later, a visiting Council of Europe official, shocked by what he saw at Gobustan prison, called the conditions unacceptable. He also urged authorities to investigate the credible account of Imanov’s client’s torture.

Imanov filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, the ombudsman, and a Baku district court in August. The authorities all rejected the allegations as groundless and refused to investigate.

On the same day Imanov filed the complaints, the deputy chief of the Justice Ministry’s penitentiary service filed a complaint with the Bar Association, accusing Imanov of spreading false information and requesting disciplinary measures against him. In response, on November 20, the Bar Association suspended Imanov’s Bar membership and referred his case to a court with a view to his disbarment. Effective immediately, Imanov cannot represent his clients in court.

Azerbaijan visit: UN torture prevention body welcomes unhindered access, urges more safeguards

Baku, Azeri-Press Agency APA, 24 April 2015

[accessed 10 May 2015]

UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, GENEVA/BAKU (24 April 2015)

[accessed 25 December 2018]

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has welcomed the unhindered access it had to places of detention in Azerbaijan during its resumed visit, while calling on the authorities to do more to protect the rights of people deprived of their liberty, the UN Baku Office told APA.

The UN group of experts visited places of deprivation of liberty throughout the country, including in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. These included police stations, pre-trial and temporary detention centres, investigative isolation units of the Ministry of National Security, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and social care institutions.

Members of the delegation carried out private and confidential interviews with law enforcement officials, medical staff and persons deprived of their liberty. The SPT delegation also met relevant Azerbaijani authorities, members of its independent monitoring body, known as a National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and representatives of civil society.

Following the visit, the SPT will submit a confidential report to the Government of Azerbaijan, containing its observations and recommendations.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT - Torture and ill-treatment continue with impunity. In September, the United Nations Subcommitee on Torture suspended its visit to Azerbaijan, citing official obstruction in visiting places of detention. In May, police arrested opposition activist Kemale Benenyarli at a protest rally following the conviction of activists from “NIDA,” a youth organization. She alleged that police struck her several times on the head while questioning her. According to her lawyer, Benenyarli sustained several bruises on her head and experienced headaches and vomiting as a result. Interior Ministry denied the allegations and failed to investigate.

Several youth activists arrested in 2014 claimed they were beaten, harassed, and forced to sign incriminating confessions while in police custody. They also complained of undue restrictions in accessing their lawyers. For example, blogger Abdul Abilov was able to meet his lawyer only six days after his November 2013 arrest and alleged that he had been punched, insulted, and threatened with further violence until he agreed to sign incriminating testimony. Authorities failed to conclusively investigate.

Iranian national tortured in Azerbaijan: ISNA

Tehran Times, 18 November 2013

[accessed 20 Nov 2013]

“They have burned his body with buts of cigarette to make him confess to the benefit of the Zionist regime,” ISNA quoted a close relative of Faraji as saying.

According to another “reliable source”, the Iranian embassy in Baku has repeatedly asked consular access to the citizen, but the request has been rejected in violation of international regulations.

The refusal to grant consular access confirms assumption that the national has been tortured, ISNA said.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/30/RESP/1 (2004)

[accessed 21 February 2013]

It should also be emphasized that, in the practice of the courts, acts of torture or maltreatment identified at the pre-trial investigation stage are not ignored. Thus, in the course of a judicial investigation all claims of the use of torture against persons being investigated are considered, evidence is gathered and the court scrupulously verifies the full observance of such persons’ right to protection. Moreover, in the event of a complaint of torture or maltreatment from the person investigated, the courts immediately call for a forensic examination and the thorough, objective and independent conduct of that examination is ensured. Thereafter, when a definitive decision is rendered by the courts, all the evidence gathered is again evaluated and instances of violence against the person investigated are noted therein, if such acts occurred at the time of the pre-trial investigation.

Judicial and procuratorial bodies supervise the work of the investigative department of the Ministry of National Security to ensure that it complies with the law. In recent years there have been no recorded cases of unlawful arrest, detention or criminal prosecution by the Ministry’s investigative department, nor have there been any cases of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading conduct on the part of investigators. The Ministry has received no complaints of this kind.

Every detainee, accused person or remand prisoner has actually been provided with counsel. Detainees and remand prisoners have been allowed proper face-to-face meetings with their lawyers, without restrictions on the number or the duration of such meetings, and the confidentiality requirement has been observed. All investigative actions in respect of suspects and accused persons, including the initial inquiry, have been conducted with the obligatory presence of a lawyer. As stipulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure, all suspects or accused persons have been notified in writing of their rights and obligations, and their right to make a complaint about the actions of an investigator to a procurator conducting procedural oversight of the pre-trial investigation or to a court conducting judicial oversight is explained to them.

Persons legally in custody have the right of correspondence and the right to meet with their relatives. They also have the right to receive and consult copies of letters accompanying any requests, claims and complaints sent to a specified addressee.

As stipulated by law, persons in custody have the right to submit requests and complaints to officials (a judge, a procurator, or the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan) in confidential format (i.e. in sealed envelopes). Detainees in remand centres also have this right. On the day a person is detained or remanded in custody, the person’s family, immediate relatives and place of work are notified of this fact in writing. Arrangements are made for detainees at the Ministry of National Security remand centre to meet with their immediate relatives, should they so wish.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 16 January 2013]

The government cracked down on all forms of public protest, at times violently, and imprisoned activists on politically-motivated charges. The atmosphere for journalists is hostile, and government officials continue to initiate criminal and civil libel cases against journalists. The government tightened restrictions on religious groups, and banned women from wearing head scarves in schools and universities, leading thousands to drop out. Torture and ill-treatment in police custody continue with impunity.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - Several activists detained at and after the protests in March and April complained of ill-treatment at the moment of their arrest and subsequently while in police custody. By the end of the year none of these allegations had been effectively investigated.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev alleged that he had been ill-treated and threatened with rape while in police custody in March, but his allegations were dismissed without effective investigation.

Tural Abbasli, leader of the youth wing of the opposition Musavat Party, maintained that he had been beaten when arrested on 2 April and again while in custody in Yasamal district police station in Baku.

Tazakhan Miralamli, of the opposition Popular Front Party, was allegedly beaten with batons by the police while being taken into custody on 2 April. His left eye was badly injured. He maintained that he was beaten again in the Sabail district police department before being taken to hospital, where, in addition to the injury to his eye, he was diagnosed with a broken finger, kidney problems and extensive soft tissue damage.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 16 January 2013]

[accessed 2 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices and provides for penalties of up to 10 years in jail; however, there were credible reports that security forces beat detainees to extract confessions while in custody. Despite defendants' claims that testimony was obtained through torture or abuse, no cases involving such claims were dismissed. A domestic human rights monitor reported that security forces tortured between 40 and 50 persons while in custody. For example, a human rights monitor reported that police tied a detainee to a chair in a police station and beat the person with a metal pipe.

In early November the media reported that officers of the MIA Organized Crime Unit (OCU) repeatedly gave electric shocks to opposition Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP) deputy chairman and former political prisoner Natik Efendiyev while in detention (see section 1.d.). Following widespread press, local NGO, and international observer attention, the MIA transferred Efendiyev from the OCU to a local prison where he received medical treatment.

On December 4, Koroglu Gasimov, the Ganja city chief police inspector, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman and sodomized her adult son during an investigation into allegations that the son burglarized a local business. MIA inspectors suspended Gasimov and opened a criminal investigation into his conduct; on December 7, the ministry dismissed Koroglu.

The government dismissed police officer Javanshir Mammadov for beating a Zerkalo newspaper journalist, Farid Teymurxanli, at an unsanctioned opposition rally on May 21.

According to the MIA, authorities criminally charged six police officers for violations of human rights and civil liberties. Human rights monitors reported that the government dismissed four other law enforcement officers for misconduct during the year.

During the year the government did not punish MIA officials for the beating, torture, and verbal abuse of persons detained in the aftermath of the 2003 presidential election, nor was any action expected. The government promoted one of the senior officers allegedly involved in the 2003 abuses, Viliyat Eyvazov, to deputy minister of internal affairs. The government also did not hold accountable any officials responsible for the excessive use of force at the November 26 peaceful demonstration.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 16 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 11 May 2020]

The judiciary is corrupt, inefficient, and subservient to the executive branch. Arbitrary arrest and detention are common, particularly for members of the political opposition. Detainees are often held for long periods before trial, and their access to lawyers is restricted. Police abuse of suspects during arrest and interrogation reportedly remains commonplace, with torture sometimes used to extract confessions. Prison conditions are severe, with many inmates suffering from overcrowding and inadequate medical care.

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study [dated]

Library of Congress Call Number DK509 .A727 1995

[accessed 17 July 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MEDIA – Ethnic conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis has resulted in widespread human rights violations by vigilante groups and local authorities. During the Elchibey period, the minister of internal affairs was replaced after admitting to numerous human rights abuses. Lezgins in Azerbaijan have complained of human rights abuses such as restrictions on educational opportunities in their native language (see Smaller Ethnic Minorities this ch.). In the early 1990s, Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch cited numerous cases of arbitrary arrest and torture, including incidents since Aliyev assumed power in 1993. These organizations and several governments protested against the arrest and beating of hundreds of APF and other political and government officials and raids on APF offices, all after the change of government in mid-1993. At one point, Isa Kamber, a former speaker of the Melli-Majlis, was seized in the legislative chamber and held for two months. In late 1993, other APF officials were reportedly arrested for antigovernment activity, and Aliyev asserted that APF members were plotting an armed uprising against him.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Azerbaijan",, [accessed <date>]