Summary: Hearing 1 (December 9)
N!DA activist Elgiz Gahramanov and his friend were both kidnapped by non-uniformed men at noon on 12 August. Gahramanov’s friend was released several hours later, but Gahramov was not. His family members initially decided not to publicise the case, and telephoned the Ministry of Internal Affairs’s hotline. Unable to obtain any information from the authorities, the family was forced to go public about the case. On 15 August, it emerged that Elgiz Gahramanov had been sentenced to a four months in pre-trial detention under drug charges.
Elgiz Gahraman was a assigned a public defender because his lawyers Nemat Karimli and Fariz Namazli were both out of the country. However, he rejected the state-appointed lawyer.
On 9 December, Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Azad Majidov, held a preliminary hearing on the criminal case against NIDA Civic Movement member Elgiz Gahramanov.
Gahramanov stands charged under Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code (illegal purchase or possession, with a view to selling, manufacturing, processing, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances in a large amount). He was sentenced to four months in pre-trial detention by Narimanov District Court on 13 August 2016.
Since both of his lawyers, Nemat Karimli and Fariz Namazli, were out of the country, the Court provided a public attorney. However, Gahraman rejected the state-assigned attorney and asked the Court to postpone the hearing until his own defence counsels were back.
Public prosecutor Abisalam Heydarov did not object to the defendant’s request. He highlighted the importance of legal representation at the preliminary hearing. The prosecutor noted that as the defendant rejected his court-appointed lawyer, the hearing had to be held with the participation of his own lawyers if he so desired.
The preliminary court hearing was postponed until 14 December.