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Jailed Azeri Oppositionist's Wife Fears He Was Tortured

Women attend a recent election rally for Abbasov (RFE/RL) 5 November 2005 -- On the eve of elections in Azerbaijan, the wife of a jailed opposition figure has alleged her husband is being tortured.

Natiq Efendiyev, a former police chief in Azerbaijan's second largest city and now deputy chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, was detained in mid-October along with 11 other men on charges of plotting a coup.

He is being held in the organized crime unit of the Interior Ministry, where human rights groups previously have
documented alleged cases of torture.

His wife, Saltanat Efendiyeva, told the AP today that when his lawyer saw him this week Efendiyev was in
an "awful state." She said her husband repeatedly fainted during the meeting and could hardly speak.

Azerbaijan is set to hold parliamentary elections tomorrow. Western observers have expressed concern over the elections
being free and fair.


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