On 9 March, a preliminary hearing was held on the appeal filed against the court judgment on NIDA Civic Movement member Elgiz Gahraman. At the hearing, presided over by Judge Sahibkhan Mirzayev of Baku Court of Appeal, Elgiz Gahraman’s lawyer Fariz Namazli presented his observations to the court regarding the court record for his client’s criminal case by the court of the first instance. The lawyer noted that the questions asked to Gulshan Humbatova, the Forensic Examination Centre employee examined in court as a witness, and her responses were missing in the court record compiled during the court proceedings in the Baku Grave Crimes Court. He noted that she had made these remarks on the record and presented them to the court of first instance.
According to the legislation, in the event of objections over such issues and regarding written observations on the court record, the case is sent back to the previous court to weigh in on such comments. So, Fariz Namazli asked for Elgiz Gahraman’s case to be referred back to the Baku Grave Crimes Court.
Public prosecutor Rasul Abbasov did not object to this ’s motion and the judicial panel ruled that the case should be sent back to the Baku Grave Crimes Court. The appeal proceedings have been postponed until the Baku Grave Crimes Court considers the matter and provides feedback.
Background: Elgiz Gahraman was detained by the officers of the Main Organised Crime Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 12 August 2016. He was charged under Article 234.4.3 (illegal production, manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances) of the Criminal Code and was preliminarily arrested by the decision of the Narimanov District Court. On 16 January 2017, the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Elgiz Gahraman to 5 years and 6 months in prison.
Elgiz Gahraman himself and the NIDA Civic Movement he is an activist of have stated that he was arrested for political reasons.