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Azerbaijan detains human rights activist on drug charges

6 December 2023
Ilhamiz Guliyev. Photo: Ilhamiz Guliyev/Facebook

An Azerbaijani human rights activist and former police officer has been arrested on drug charges two months after speaking to local media about how police allegedly falsified drug charges against government critics to silence them.

Ilhamiz Guliyev was previously sentenced to 30 days in prison on charges of disobeying the police and petty hooliganism, a few days after giving an anonymous interview in early October to AbzasMedia about how the police planted drugs on critics. 

‘AbzasMedia also interviewed Ilhamiz because he is a former police officer. He talked about the police planting drugs on people, and now they planted drugs on him’, his relatives told OC Media.

He was arrested again on Monday, a month after being released from administrative detention. 

Guliyev’s relatives also told OC Media that the police assaulted Guliyev and injured his head when they arrested him on Monday evening and that he was tortured by the police in detention.

His lawyer,  Zibeyda Sadigova also told OC Media that Guliyev was limping when she met with him.

His family claimed that the authorities had been ‘watching’ Guliyev, tailing him for more than a week. They added that the activist got a drug test as a precaution to prove that he was not using drugs. Critics of the Azerbaijani government are frequently arrested on drug charges.

Guliyev’s drug test results issued by the National Narcotics Centre on 17 November 2023. Image courtesy of his family.

His relatives added that the Ministry of Internal Affairs claimed that Guliyev had never served as a police officer, despite him having been an assistant to Rahib Aliyev, an investigator at the Narimanov District Police Department.

Guliyev left the police force after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War to become the Aghdam district manager of the Institute for Citizens’ Rights, an organisation providing legal assistance to business owners and families who lost property during the war.

His lawyer, Sadigova, said that Guliyev will plead not guilty.

‘He has not been brought to court yet as the amount of drugs has not been determined’, she told OC Media on Wednesday.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.
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