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Azerbaijani Regional Official Accused Of Torture

Nadir Mammadov
Nadir Mammadov
NAXCIVAN, Azerbaijan -- The interior minister of the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan, Ahmad Ahmadov, has been accused of torturing a man who criticized police "tyranny" in the autonomous republic, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Nadir Mammadov, 30, said he was taken by police late on February 15 to Ahmadov's office in the city of Naxcivan. He said Ahmadov began insulting him and asked Mammadov with which hand he wrote his complaint. Mammadov said Ahmadov then began pulling his fingernails out with pliers.

Mammadov said the minister ordered him to leave Naxcivan as "he did not deserve" to live there. Mammadov flew from Naxcivan to Baku on February 16.

Mammadov was an observer for an opposition candidate in a Naxcivan constituency during the November parliamentary elections. He attributes Ahmadov's attack on him to his condemnation of what he called vote falsification during the elections.

Ahmadov was called by RFE/RL to comment on Mammadov's claim, but he hung up immediately.

Azerbaijani Interior Ministry spokesman Orkhan Mansurzadeh dismissed Mammadov's claims about Ahmadov as "nonsense."

He said no one named Mammadov had recently visited the Naxcivan Interior Ministry. "Such a campaign is aimed at damaging the Interior Ministry's lofty image and reputation among the population," Mansurzadeh said.