Psychologist Among "Child Torturers" Arrested at Private Child Psychological Center in Azerbaijan

September 8, 2022

Video of children being tortured by employees of private psychological and speech therapy center “Mehnur” has circulated on the Azerbaijani space of social networks. The case was immediately taken up by police. By a court decision, three employees of the center were sentenced to house arrest. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan noted that the center was not an official preschool institution and therefore not under the control of the state.

What happened?

After the distribution of video on social networks, law enforcement agencies launched an investigation.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, the identities of the employees were established.

An interdepartmental working group with the participation of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children, public organizations and other state structures also launched an investigation.

Arrest and sentencing

As a result, the police arrested the head of the center, Nurana Hajizade, her assistant Sabina Aliyarbeyli, and psychologist Aytaj Kazimly.

A criminal case was initiated against them under Art. 133 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan (torture).

By decision of the Nizami District Court of Baku, all three suspects were sentenced to house arrest for the period of investigation.

What do parents say?

According to the mother of one of the children abused at the center, she noticed wounds on her child’s body.

“I asked my son where the wounds came from. He replied that he had been beaten by a psychologist,” Sabina Gasimova said.

However, a majority of the parents of the abused children refused to speak to journalists.

Who controls private children’s centers?

In Azerbaijan, the legislation does not restrict the activities of such therapy centers. They do not provide medical services, and for this reason the Ministry of Health is not in control of them.

Also, the activities of such preschool centers are not regulated by the Ministry of Education. This was stated by Jesaret Valekhov, head of the press service of the Ministry of Education. “They operate like small businesses, nothing connects us to them,” he said.

According to head of the press service of the Ministry of Economy, Abbas Aliyev, they are also not required to obtain licensing.

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Expert opinion

“Four-year-old Javid Dzhabrailov, who was tortured by Mehnur employee, has a hearing impairment. Therapy measures were taken after he had been fitted with a hearing aid.

“A child who cannot hear may be aggressive and unable to do exercises with a speech therapist. Forcing him to repeat something in this case is fundamentally wrong. The child must first be brought not to a speech therapist, but to an ENT. After the hearing impairment is taken care of, it is be possible to start therapy sessions to facilitate speech,” psychologist Elnur Rustamov said.

Rustamov expressed regret that these places are so irresponsible and fail to consult with parents.

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Chairman of the Union of Children of Azerbaijan Kamala Agazade stressed that private therapy centers must have a license, and the specialists working in them must have appropriate certification confirming their skills and experience in working with special needs children.

“Only after an investigation will we find out whether they were licensed or not. But the incident demonstrates that institutions that work with minors, including those with disabilities, must operate on the basis of a license. The director of Mehnur had four similar centers in different parts of Baku. And we still don’t know what happened to the children in those,” Agazade said.

Source: “Child torturers arrested in private children's center in Baku,” JAM News, Sept. 7, 2022, URL:  


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