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Azerbaijan rejects detained Toplum co-founder’s request for urgent biopsy

3 May 2024
Toplum TV co-founder Alasgar Mammadli. Image via social media.

Azerbaijani authorities are reportedly barring Alasgar Mammadli, a detained media lawyer and co-founder of Toplum TV, from getting an urgent biopsy for a growth in his throat.

Mammadli was detained by the Azerbaijani authorities during their raid on Toplum TV, an independent online TV, in March as part of their ongoing crackdown on media in Azerbaijan.

His lawyer, Zibeyda Sadigova, warned on Wednesday that Mammadli was experiencing pain due to a 23mm swelling in his thyroid gland. ‘This means an urgent biopsy should be taken and immediate treatment should be started. But for some reason, there’s been no serious action for over a month now’, Sadigova wrote on Facebook.

Mammadli’s brother, Nasimi Mammadli, has said that his brother’s doctors instructed him in late April to get a biopsy of the growth if it grows larger than 15mm, to determine whether it was cancerous. 

Nasimi Mammadli told OC Media that his brother’s health has been deteriorating since, with him experiencing hand tremors and difficulty breathing while sleeping.

‘The colour has bled out of his face’, he said. ‘We are afraid that if this situation affects his organs we can’t do anything in the future.’

Nasimi Mammadli added that his brother was arrested on 8 March outside the clinic where he was scheduled to get a thyroid biopsy.

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Alasgar Mammadli’s doctor, Aydin Aliyev, told OC Media that Mammadli was experiencing neck pain and nausea and that upon examination, they found signs that his pancreas could also be at risk after overproducing amylase enzymes.

Aliyev added that the Penitentiary Service’s clinic said that Mammadli was healthy after only giving him an ultrasound scan.

However, he said that the scan still showed that his thyroid gland had grown significantly.

Nasimi Mammadli told OC Media that the prosecutors investigating the Toplum TV case had promised to allow the media lawyer to get the necessary medical examinations for his enlarged thyroid gland, but had so far failed to follow through with a biopsy.

Azerbaijani legislation guarantees the right of prisoners to seek medical assistance and examinations.

Mammadli’s family has appealed to the Public Defender’s Office for assistance but received a letter from the office stating that they required more information. They replied with details about Mammadli’s health condition but did not receive an answer.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.