Former Investigator Chants “Down with Dictatorship” at His Appeal Hearing

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On 22 December , Shirvan Appeal Court chaired by Judge Alakbar Novruzov concluded the appeal proceedings on the criminal case of former investigator Rufat Safarov, who resigned from the prosecution authorities by making a loud political statement.

The hearing was observed by the Representative for Political Affairs of the US Embassy, some members of the committee to protect Rufat Safarov’s rights, and the representatives of the opposition parties APFP and Musavat who had come from the Shirvan city.

Rufat Safarov’s lawyer Bahruz Bayramov made a speech in defence of the arguments of the appeal, and said the charges filed against Rufat Safarov were trumped-up. The lawyer called the judgment of the first instance court unfounded and unlawful. He said the judgment had been handed down due to Rufat Safarov’s critical stance. At the end of his speech, the lawyer asked the court to acquit the former investigator.

Rufat Safarov made his closing speech. He noted that the judgment rendered against him was politically motivated. “I have never taken bribe. Had I had inclination towards bribe, I would have delayed my resignation for several days. Had I had material interest, I would have waited until the end of the year to receive the monetary reward, vacation bonus and medical examination allowance that would be given by the prosecutor’s office. Although just ten days were left until [I would receive] them, I did not wait. I voluntarily resigned from the prosecution authorities. Had I resigned 10 days later, I would have received at least 5,000 AZN. This goes to show that I have never thought about money. Money has not been the key factor for me,” Safarov said.

The court dismissed the appeal and upheld the original judgment. After the judgment had been declared, Rufat Safarov began chanting slogans such as ‘Down with the Dictatorship’, ‘Long Live Democracy’, and ‘Down with the Dictatorial Regime of Ilham Aliyev’.

Background: Rufat Safarov, former investigator of Zardab Regional Prosecutor’s Office, was sentenced to 9 years in prison by Lankaran Grave Crimes Court’s judgment (presiding judge Asim Hajiyev) of 8 September 2016 on charges of bribe taking (Article 311 of the Criminal Code).
Rufat Safarov, the son of former head of the press service of the Ministry of Defence, resigned from the post of investigator of Zardab Regional Prosecutor’s Office by writing an application to Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov in December of 2015. He stressed that he did so in protest at rampant injustice in the country and unjustified attacks against his father.

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