Court Rejects Youth Activists’ Torture Claims

September 14th, 2016

genc feallar

Sabail District Court held a hearing on the request to initiate a criminal case based on arrested youth activists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov’s allegations that they were tortured upon detention.

Giving background to the case and information on the hearing, youth activists’ lawyer Elchin Sadigov said he appealed to the prosecutor’s office on May 2016 to launch a criminal case on the episode of Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov being tortured and to bring the perpetrators of the torture to justice. “Asam Safaraliyev, an investigator for especially important cases of the Investigation Department of Baku City Prosecutor’s Office, made a decision refusing to launch a criminal case on June 7. Sabail District Court was being requested to revoke this decision and to conduct criminal investigation into the fact of torture. But Judge Elmar Rahimov rejected the complaint,” the lawyer said.

Elchin Sadigov added that he would appeal the court’s decision.

Background: Oppositional civic movement NIDA’s members, final-year students of Azerbaijan Slavic University, Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov were arrested on drug charges on 10 May 2016. Both youths have claimed that they have been arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Youth activist Giyas Ibrahimov wrote “Happy Slave Day” and “fuck the system” on the late Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev’s statue facing the Central Bank near the 28-May metro station, and Bayram Mammadov took a photo of the slogans on the statue. The photo of the slogans was posted on NIDA civic movement’s Facebook page late on May 9. The two youths went missing since the evening hours on May 10. It was only on 12 May 2016 that the Ministry of Internal Affairs released information on the youths’ arrest. According to the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as a result of operational search actions carried out by the officers of the Drug Enforcement Department of Baku City Main Police Office, Police Office #22 of Nasimi District Police Department and Police Office #25 of Nizami District Police Department, 2,607 grams of heroin was found on Giyas Ibrahimov on the territory of Nasimi district and seized, and additional 1 kilogram and 10 grams of heroin was found and seized during the search of his apartment; and as a result of other operational search actions carried out by the officers of the Drug Enforcement Department of Baku City Main Police Office and Police Office #12 of Sabunchu District Police Department, 2,904 grams of heroin was found on Sabunchu settlement resident Bayram Mammadov and seized, and additional 1 kilogram and 150 grams of heroin was found and seized during the search of his house. Both activists are charged under Articles 234.4.1 (illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics, psychotropic substances or their precursors – on preliminary arrangement by a group of persons or by an organised group) and 234.4.3 (- in a large amount) of the Criminal Code. Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were ordered detained for 4 months by Khatai District Court’s decision of 12 May 2016. The youth activists have reported being subjected to torture.