Appeal Filed by Men Accused in Journalist Rasim Aliyev’s Death under Review

May 27th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 1
 The victim’s representative Fariz Namazli filed a motion to discontinue the proceedings on the case and to return the case to Baku Grave Crimes Court for retrial. The court denied the motion;
 The defendants Elshan Ismayilov, Arif Aliyev, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev’s lawyer Shamsaddin Guliyev filed a motion to hear the appeal as a trial de novo. This motion was also dismissed;
 The court decided to uphold the measure of pretrial detention selected against the defendants and to set down the case for hearing.

Baku Court of Appeal chaired by the judge Gadim Babayev held a preliminary hearing on the criminal case launched into the death of former IRFS chairman, journalist Rasim Aliyev. On August 08, 2015, Rasim Aliyev was brutally assaulted by a group of 5-6 men, who took his phone and wallet. Rasim Aliyev drove to the emergency care in his car, from where he was taken to the city clinic #1. Rasim Aliyev was admitted to hospital at about 16.45 on August 8. Following an examination, doctors said that he had four broken ribs. He received intravenous pain medication and was placed in a ward. The medical staff failed to change his clothes in the ward. On August 09, 2015 (at around 1 o’clock at night), Rasim’s family was informed that he had to undergo an operation. When his family arrived at the hospital twenty minutes later, the doctor told them that the operation was over and that Rasim was in intensive care. Shortly afterwards, they were told that Rasim had passed away. His body was sent to the Republican Hospital for expert examination. Under the indictment, Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev are charged under Article 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim), while Elshan Ismayilov, who is the footballer Javid Huseynov’s cousin, and Arif Aliyev are charged under Articles 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim) and 177.1 (theft) of the Criminal Code. On April 01, 2016, the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Elshan Ismayilov to 13 years, Arif Aliyev to 12.5 years, Jamal Mammadov to 11 years, Kanan Madatov to 9 years, and Samir Mustafayev to 9 years in jail. The defendants and the victim’s representative Fariz Namazli were dissatisfied with Baku Grave Crimes Court’s judgment dated April 01, 2016 and filed an appeal.

The hearing was attended by the defendants Elshan Ismayilov, Arif Aliyev, Jamal Mammadov, Samir Mustafayev and Kanan Madatov, defense counsels, the victim’s legal heir (journalist Rasim Aliyev’s mother) Teyfura Aliyeva, and the victim’s legal heir’s representative Fariz Namazli. The defendants Elshan Ismayilov’s, Arif Aliyev’s, Jamal Mammadov’s and Samir Mustafayev’s rights are defended by lawyer Shamsaddin Guliyev and Kanan Madatov’s rights are defended by lawyer Rasul Yusifbayli.

Motions filed at the hearing:

At today’s hearing, the victim’s legal heir’s representative Fariz Namazli filed a motion first. Namazli requested the court to discontinue the case and to return it to the court of first instance for retrial. His justification was that the preliminary investigation and the judicial investigation by the court of first instance were not conducted correctly and the doctors were left out of this criminal case and were not even questioned in court as witnesses.

The defendants’ lawyers Rasul Yusifbayli and Shamsaddin Guliyev seconded the motion. Shamsaddin Guliyev said that some substance had been mixed with the intravenous liquid infused into Rasim Aliyev’s vein in the hospital, which caused Rasim’s death. The public prosecutor requested that the motion be rejected. The court did not sustain the motion.

The defendants Elshan Ismayilov, Arif Aliyev, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev’s lawyer Shamsaddin Guliyev filed a motion to hear the appeal as a trial de novo. This motion was also dismissed.

After a deliberation, the court decided to uphold the measure of pretrial detention selected against the defendants and to set down the case for hearing.

The next court hearing was set for June 10, 12.20pm.

Background: On July 25, 2015, Rasim Aliyev received threatening messages on the social networking website Odnoklassniki. He was shown the images that he had shot while working for IRFS and was told that he would have to answer for them. On July 26, 2015, Rasim Aliyev appealed to Sabail District Police Office #8, informing them of the death threats. However, police failed to take action to protect his life.

On August 6, 2015, Gabala Football Club player Javid Huseynov was interviewed by journalists after the Gabala-Apollo (Cyprus) match of the third qualification round of Europe League. According to the media, Huseynov first called on the journalists, who criticized him for his obscene gesture made during the first leg match, to take a blood test, trying to indirectly hint that those, who criticized him, had Armenian blood in their vessels. Huseynov then acted disrespectfully towards a Cypriot journalist, who asked him why he raised a Turkish flag. Besides telling him in English that “Turks are my friends”, Huseynov made an obscene gesture to our colleague with his hand. The moment was captured by cameras .

Sharing this news on his Facebook page, Rasim Aliyev wrote the following words in his post: “I don’t want such an immoral and ill-mannered footballer, who cannot control himself, to represent me in European stadiums.” After that, Javid Huseynov and his relatives called Rasim Aliyev and Javid’s cousin invited him to a meeting. The moments of beating of Rasim Aliyev, who went to the meeting alone, were fully recorded by the security camera installed for the sake of public order.

Note that journalist Rasim Aliyev was a member of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety since the day of its establishment in 2006. After IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov was forced to go into hiding to avoid arbitrary criminal prosecution last August, Rasim Aliyev was elected the chairman of IRFS in the autumn of 2014 at a report-election conference. The Ministry of Justice was officially informed about the change of IRFS chairman. Although Aliyev was not actually working for IRFS as its projects were stopped due to the suspension of bank accounts, the confiscation of its equipment and documents and the sealing of its office, he remained the chairman of IRFS until his death.