Azerbaijan starts investigating “Terter case” on torture of servicemen accused of spying for Armenia

The security forces of Azerbaijan are conducting a preliminary investigation into the torture of servicemen accused in 2017 of spying for Armenia. In the country this incident is called the “Terter case,” the BBC reports.

According to both the authorities and human rights activists, more than 100 people suffered from torture; the authorities are talking about one dead, human rights activists say 11 were killed. Individual perpetrators were tried and punished in the framework of the case, but it has never been investigated comprehensively.

In May 2017 – shortly after another flareup of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – soldiers in Azerbaijan were massively arrested and brutally tortured. They were taken to an old administrative building in the Terter region of Azerbaijan, where they were tortured and forced to confess to espionage in favor of Armenia.

Human rights activists say at least 11 soldiers were killed.

People were stripped, thrown out of windows, beaten with sticks, had their nails pulled out and electrical contacts inserted into wounds, torture victims and their relatives told the BBC.

At least 25 people pleaded guilty to espionage – and received sentences ranging from 12 to 20 years.

The courts never took into account that the testimony was given under torture. And apart from the confessions, there is nothing significant in their cases.

Soldiers who were tortured and fired from service now want reinstatement. Relatives of those who slandered themselves under torture and are in prison demand their release.

Relatives of the dead are dissatisfied with the short terms for those found guilty of torture. Only one person, former Major Fuad Agayev, received the maximum term of 10 years.

All of them want those who gave the order to torture the military to go to prison.

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