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Summary: Hearing 36
On 16 November 2016 Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov continued the hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade and other members of the Muslim Union Movement, charged under 21 articles of the Criminal Code including homicide, terrorism and incitement.
The APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli who is not a member of the Movement but yet accused of promoting their cause is charged under Articles 220.2 (making calls for active insubordination to lawful requirements of representatives of authority and for mass disorders, as well as violence against citizens), 281.2 (public appeals directed against the state, committed repeatedly or by a group of people) and 283.2.1 (instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility, by using or threatening to use violence) of the Criminal Code respectively.
On 26 November 2015 an armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku, during an operation conducted by the police. According to official reports, the shootout resulted in the death of six, including two police officers. Taleh Bagirzade, the leader of the Muslim Union Movement, and several believers were detained as part of the operation. A criminal case has been launched in relation to the incident by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic.
Fuad Gahramanli, who was not present during the incident, was arrested on 8 December, 2015. His lawyer Yalchin Imanov said that Fuad Gahramanli was arrested due to his Facebook posts and his case was merged with the criminal case of the people arrested over the Nardaran incidents.
Chairman of Muslim Union Movement, defendant Taleh Bagirzade addressed the judge at the hearing. “Mr. Judge, we have accurate information that our friends and relatives and people from districts and regions who come here [to attend hearings] [are asked to] give their identity cards before entering the courtroom. After those people return to their homes, someone comes and takes the identity cards from here. They are called directly from their addresses and threatened not to go to the court and attend hearings. The person who collects identity cards here, the one who is behind it is directly responsible. This is the first problem. I am asking you to give an instruction to stop such actions. The witnesses and the people who come here are threatened. People from Nardaran, even women, are particularly threatened by the police not to come to the court and attend the proceedings,” Bagirzade said.
“The second question is I am really very concerned. I have finally obtained a copy of the book containing an appeal, which the investigating authority is attributing to me. Frankly speaking, I had not read it carefully. They have written that the government is an embodiment of corruption and prostitution. They seem to know their government and its prostitution better. We have not said such things. I mean, this process should be stopped. The authorities need to find a solution to their problem, because it is the government’s own insiders, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who is addressing these immoral words to the government. They are saying it themselves. I am not saying anything. They are saying it themselves. I cannot understand the court or the authorities, what is the point of conducting the trial and judging us when they say such words to themselves,” Bagirzade continued.
The judge said that nothing could be yet said about the booklet as it had not been examined. As for the collection of identity cards from people coming to attend hearings and their subjection to threats, the judge said those persons could appeal to prosecution authorities in person as they were not party to the proceedings.
Examination of a witness:
Emin Babayev, a neighbourhood police inspector from the 15th police station of Sabunchu District Police Department, was examined as a witness at the hearing. “At between 7pm and 8pm on 5 November 2015, when I was on duty together with Yusif Gurbanov, Elchin Gasimov came out of the mosque with a plastic bag in his hand. We saw him complaining and using indecent words in a loud tone. We invited tried to discipline him. When I was in the car, he scuffled with Yusif Gurbanov and during the scuffle Yusif Gurbanov’s cap fell off his head. Then we invited him to the police station. He did not want to come. We placed him into the car and brought him to Sabunchu District Police Department,” the witness noted.
In response to the lawyer’s question why they had taken Elchin Gasimov to the police department instead of the police station, the witness said there was no one in the police station at the time. “Why there was not anyone at the police station at 7pm,” lawyer Yalchin Imanov asked. The witness replied that they had been instructed to take Gasimov to the department as there was no one at the police station because the officers were at an event.
The lawyer then asked the witness what he did after Elchin Gasimov’s detention. The witness responded that he left. However, the lawyer said the witness was telling a lie, because police officer Yusif Gurbanov, who was on duty together with him at the time, testified that they had waited beside Elchin Gasimov at the department since morning. The lawyer asked for witness Yusif Gurbanov’s testimony to be read out.
Several witnesses were absent from the hearing. The next hearing was set for 18 November, 10.30am.