Several Azerbaijani students have allegedly been beaten after complaining about the conditions they were being quarantined in.
Around 150 students were evacuated from Turkey to the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan on 24 March. Some were placed in the Duzdag Sanatorium, located in a cave, with the rest placed in a barracks of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
They were to be quarantined for 14-21 days.
The students in the Duzdag Sanatorium held a protest on 25 March against the conditions they were being held and released a video of their protest online.
A video of the protest via Meydan TV
Several of them told Meydan TV that there was no ventilation, no washing facilities, that it was unhygienic, and that many people were being held in a small space.
Several of them said they had addressed the interior, foreign, and health ministries about their conditions but that nothing had changed.
‘They treat us not like citizens, but like freight, like garbage’, one of them said during their protest on 25 March.
Some of the students told Meydan TV on 26 March that there was no electricity or heating in the sanatorium.
‘No one was tested. We have not been provided with anything but a mask. They feed us with one doner in the afternoon and evening’, one said.
One student’s father told Meydan TV that his son’s phone was unreachable and that they had only been able to speak once since he was quarantined.
Allegations of beatings and torture
The video of the protest was filmed by two of the students, Huseyn Novruzov and Eltaj Kerimli.
The students staying in Duzdag sanatorium said on Friday that Novruzov and Kerimli had been handcuffed and taken away by police and had not been seen for three days.
Meydan TV reported that on Wednesday night, those protesting in the barracks were beaten by soldiers.
Meydan TV reported that students from the barracks protested again on Thursday because of the conditions. According to them, one student named Umid filmed their protest, after which he was placed in a basement and beaten with a baton.
‘Umid is not allowed to meet the other students. It is said that his physical condition is very bad and they hide it because they do not want the news to spread’, one of the students said.
Meydan TV reported that a student named Shalala, who tried to get information about Umid, was locked in a dark, cold room, detained for a while, and then threatened and released.
On Friday, the students were transferred to a military base in Nakhchivan’s Sharur District.
After the students were transferred, one female student reported in a voice message that her friend Zivar had been locked in ‘a room with bars’ after trying to get information about their disappeared friends.
‘They took us out to eat. We saw one of the students taken away yesterday, his head was covered in dust’, she is heard saying in the message.
‘We asked to meet [them] for 5 minutes. They didn’t say anything to me, they called the girl next to me to see them. She was forcibly taken to a room with bars.’
‘I didn't dare to say anything because I have asthma, so they took her away. She is my best friend, she has a heart disease, if something happens, who will answer for it?’