Sardar Calaloglu (file photo) (Turan)
January 11, 2007 -- The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that an Azeri opposition leader was tortured in police custody following an antigovernment rally in 2003.
The court ordered Azerbaijan to pay him 10,000 euros (nearly $13,000) in damages.
Sardar Calaloglu, deputy chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, was arrested in October 2003 after riots sparked by the election of Ilham Aliyev to succeed his father, Heydar Aliyev, as president. The opposition considered the elections illegitimate.
Authorities cracked down on opposition leaders they blamed for the violence, and Calaloglu was sentenced to three years in prison. He was released early after getting a presidential pardon.
Calaloglu said he was tortured by masked men while in custody, which left him temporarily disabled.
The European Court upheld his complaint and ruled that Azeri authorities failed to properly investigate the incident.