06/18/2020

Urgent Action: Psychiatric Detention for Criticizing the President (Azerbaijan: UA 104.20)


Opposition activist Agil Humbatov has been held in psychiatric detention in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, and injected with unknown drugs without his consent since 2 April after he criticized the authorities’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 2 June, his forced hospitalization was extended for another month. Agil Humbatov has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty and must be freed immediately.

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Agahasan Rasulov, Head Doctor
Republican Psychiatric Hospital Number 1
Due to postal restrictions caused by COVID-19, please only send physical mail to the Embassy
Fax: (+994 12) 455 05 74
E-mail: [email protected]px.az
Ambassador Elin Suleymanov
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
2741 34th Street NW, Washington DC  20008
Phone: 202 337 3500 I Fax: 202 337 5911
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @azembassyus
Facebook: @azembasssy.us
Instagram: @azembassyus
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

 

 

Dear Head Doctor Rasulov,

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the forcible psychiatric hospitalization of Agil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA). Since 2 April, he has been forcibly held at the Psychiatric Hospital №1 in retaliation for his criticism of the authorities.

On 30 March, police arrested Agil Humbatov after he posted a video on social media criticizing the government’s failure to help families who struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic. The next day, police officers took him to the Psychiatric Hospital №1, where he was confined as a patient purportedly suffering from paranoia. On 1 April, the Sabunchu District Court rejected the hospital’s application for his forced hospitalization and ordered his release. On 2 April, police re-arrested Agil Humbatov and took him back to the hospital after he posted another video on social media saying that he was forcibly hospitalized in deplorable conditions because of his political views. On 3 April, the Baku Court of Appeals overturned the previous court decision and approved his forced hospitalization without any substantial evidence that would justify his internment in a psychiatric hospital. The court ruled that Agil Humbatov posed danger to the public based on the same circumstances that were previously dismissed by the Sabunchu District Court as insufficient.

The administration of the hospital has since refused to allow Agil Humbatov’s family to visit him. On 12 May, he complained to his wife that doctors inject him with unknown drugs against his will, and that his health has worsened as a result. On 2 June the hospital administration took the decision to extended Agil Humbatov’s forced hospitalization by one month. This is unfounded and appears to be intended to punish him simply for having expressed his critical views of the government. This is an egregious abuse of his human dignity and his right to health, and it violates his rights to freedom of expression, personal liberty, and amount to torture and ill-treatment. I urge you to immediately end any forced treatment imposed on Agil Humbatov against his will and immediately release him from the psychiatric hospital.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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