Court of Appeal Upholds Pre-trial Detention of NIDA Member


Baku Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal against Narimanov District Court’s decision of 13 August 2016 on the 4-month pretrial detention of NIDA Civic Movement member Elgiz Gahramanov. Elgiz Gahramanov was detained together with his friend by plainclothesmen at noon on August 12. His friend was released several hours later, but the activist himself was not freed. His family members at first decided to wait and not to publicize the issue, but having contacted the 102 hotline of the Ministry of Internal Affairs they were unable to obtain information. After the issue was made public on August 15, it emerged that Elgiz Gahramanov was charged under Article 234.4.3 (illegal purchase or storage with a view of selling, manufacturing, processing, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances at a large amount) of the Criminal Code and had been ordered detained for 4 months by Narimanov District Court’s decision of 13 August 2016. According to the Criminal Code, the person charged under this Article is punished by imprisonment for a period of five to twelve years and confiscation of his property.

According to lawyer Fariz Namazli, the hearing was held behind closed doors and Elgiz Gahramanov had sent a letter to the court via the investigator stating that he did not object to the pretrial detention measure and did not want to attend the hearing.

The lawyer further said that Elgiz was still illegally held in the custody of the Main Organized Crime Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. “They do not transfer him to the pretrial detention facility and being held at the Main Organized Crime Department adds to the likelihood of him still being tortured,” the lawyer noted.

Outside the courthouse there were numerous police officers who pushed the crowd amassed in front of the court building away. Journalist Islam Shikhali’s press card and phone were seized. NIDA member Turgut Gambar was detained by plainclothesmen in front of the court.

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