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Activist claims to have been kidnapped over criticism of Azerbaijani minister

26 April 2022
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Image via Facebook.

A prominent activist and former political prisoner has accused the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry of orchestrating his kidnapping in order to warn him against criticising the minister.

On 23 April, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev claimed to have been abducted by unidentified people who he said beat and humiliated him.

In a post on Facebook, Hajiyev said he was attacked in the streets on his way home on the night of 21 April.

‘Four masked men forced me into a car and hit me on the head. They put me in a black bag and drove in an unknown direction’, he said.

Hajiyev said that he was blindfolded and tied up, and that his kidnappers switched cars after driving for a while.

When his captors removed the blindfold, he said he found himself in the bathroom of an unfamiliar flat.

‘They demanded that I admit to writing critical posts about the Interior Minister Vilayat Eyvazov on someone’s instructions. When I said I had not received instructions from anyone, they stripped me of my clothes and demanded that I delete my posts about Eyvazov and Fuad Muradov [a pro-government activist].’

According to Hajiyev, he was recorded with go-pro cameras while his kidnappers urinated on him. 

‘[They] threatened to rape and kill me if I continued to criticise the minister. After that, they blindfolded me again and took me to another place’, Hajiyev said.

The activist said he was then abandoned in a remote area, where they left him bound with duct tape and blindfolded.

On 23 April, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said that the activist was received by Minister Vilayat Eyvazov, who listened to his retelling of the incident.

‘Colonel-General Vilayat Eyvazov listened to him and informed him that the relevant issues will be investigated’, the spokesperson added.

Hajiyev has remained adamant in his belief that Eyvazov was behind the attack

‘They said they would conduct an investigation in the near future and report the results. I said that I believe the Interior Ministry to be responsible for all the events that have taken place so far, including the last one’, he said.

‘Until the perpetrators are found and punished, and the ministry will be responsible for what happens to me in the future.’

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