BAKU -- A resident of the Azerbaijani capital is alleging police brutality while he was in custody following a local backlash to a raid enforcing coronavirus regulations.
Karim Suleymanli told journalists in Baku on June 9 after he was released from custody that police beat him for hours despite repeated warnings about his health.
"Thirty people beat me for five hours. I kept saying that I had had surgery on my lungs, begging them not to punch me on my lungs, because the surgery site might rupture, and I would die, but they ignored me. They kept kicking and punching, " Suleymanli said.
Suleymanli's lawyer, Cavad Cavadov, told RFE/RL on June 10 that his client visited a hospital and obtained an official medical report stating he was severely beaten.
Cavadov added that the document will be attached to a police-brutality complaint his client plans to file with the Prosecutor-General's Office.
However, Baku city police spokesman Elsad Haciyev rejected Suleymanli's claims.
"Suleymanli received minor facial injuries not in the police station, but while disobeying the law when he resisted his detention...We absolutely deny the allegations," Haciyev said in a statement on June 9.
Suleymanli was one of 11 residents of Baku's Yeni Yasamal neighborhood who were violently detained by dozens of police early in the morning on June 8.
The Interior Ministry issued a statement that day alleging that the detainees had thrown garbage at police officers a day earlier as they were detaining another locals for "violating restrictions imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus."
Human rights activist Baxtiyar Haciyev told RFE/RL on June 8 that the police’s behavior was an example of the widening gap between law enforcement and ordinary citizens.
"What we saw today looked like a revenge operation, a step by police to intimidate citizens, to break them," Haciyev said. “Meanwhile, all moves by state entities must be done strictly within legal frameworks.”