Former Investigator Rufat Safarov’s Trial Is Underway

August 8th, 2016

Summary: Hearing 2
 The public prosecutor announced the indictment;
 Rufat Safarov rejected the charges, associating the criminal case with his resignation from the prosecution authorities by making a political statement;
 Witness Elchin Khalilov testified that he had put the money wrapped in paper on the table in Rufat Safarov’s workroom, but at the time Rufat Safarov was not there;
 Eldaniz Abdullayev, another witness in the case, had sent a telegram to the court, saying that he was under treatment;
 Seyidazim Agayev, a third witness in the case and assistant prosecutor of Zardab region, had also sent in a telegram, indicating that he was not able to show up;
 Rufat Safarov’s lawyer Bahruz Bayramov filed a motion for a special resolution to prosecute the persons who had allegedly given the bribe. The motion was denied;
 The lawyer went on to file a second motion asking the court to send information requests to get information on what had become of the complaints and the criminal cases against the persons who had allegedly given the bribe. This motion was granted.

Lankaran Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Asim Hajiyev, held a hearing on the bribe-taking charges brought against former investigator Rufat Safarov under Article 311.3.2 (reception of a bribe, repeatedly) of the Criminal Code. Rufat Safarov, a former investigator, resigned from the prosecution authorities on 20 December 2015 due to what he described as rampant lawlessness and human rights violations in the country, but he was discharged by the order of the Prosecutor General, Zakir Garalov. According to the order, Rufat Safarov has been dismissed from prosecution authorities for committing acts incompatible with the position of a prosecutor or investigator at prosecution authorities and grossly violating Article 34 of the Law of Azerbaijan Republic on Prosecutor’s Office and Articles 30 and 31 of the “Code of Ethical Conduct of Employees of Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic.” Later, Rufat Safarov was charged under Article 311.3.2 (repeated bribe-taking) of the Criminal Code. He was ordered detained on 15 January 2016, but was released under house arrest on January 22. Rufat Safarov is the son of former Defense Ministry spokesman, ex-MP Eldar Sabiroglu.

Announcement of indictment:

The public prosecutor announced the indictment at the hearing. He said that, according to the indictment, in his capacity as an investigator Rufat Safarov received bribes in the amounts of 1,000 AZN from Zardab’s Alibayli village municipality chairman Elchin Khalilov, 700 AZN from the designated employee of the region’s Electrical Grid Alamdar Abbasov, 500 AZN from the employee of Zardab’s Veterinary Office Mansur Panahov, and 3,000 AZN from the head of the Culture and Tourism department Eldaniz Abdullayev in 2014. These amounts of money have been given for the dismissal of the complaints about the above-mentioned persons and the refusal to initiate criminal cases against them.

Rufat Safarov’s testimony:

Rufat Safarov testified and pleaded not guilty. He called the charges against him trumped-up. “This is a bill of trap rather than a bill of indictment. Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov has a direct role in all this. He has ordered the digging of this pit, but they have devised this bill of trap very poorly. Zakir Garalov has personally issued an honorary acknowledgement to me for my professional activity. If I were a bribe-taker, why did the Prosecutor General issue a commendation to me?! If I were not, why do they arrest me? It seems, I cannot take bribe, that’s why. It is a stroke of luck that they have not charged me with coup or creating illegal armed units. It is clear to everyone that it is all because of my voice of protest against lawlessness and my resignation from the prosecutor’s office by issuing a statement,” Rufat Safarov said.

Witness testimonies:
Witnesses were questioned at the hearing. Elchin Khalilov and Alamdar Abbasov, who had allegedly given bribe to the former investigator, were among the witnesses.
Elchin Khalilov testified that he had put the money wrapped in paper on the table in Rufat Safarov’s workroom, but at the time Rufat Safarov was not there.
Eldaniz Abdullayev, another individual who had allegedly bribed the former investigator, had sent a telegram to the court, saying that he was under treatment. At the hearing, it also turned out that this person had not shown up for the confrontation with Rufat Safarov, either.
Seyidazim Agayev, assistant prosecutor of Zardab region, had also sent in a telegram, indicating that he was not able to attend.

Lawyer’s motions:

Rufat Safarov’s lawyer Bahruz Bayramov filed a motion for the issuance of a special resolution to prosecute the persons who had allegedly given the bribe: “Because, according to the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, bribe-giving is also considered a crime.” The motion was denied.

The lawyer went on to file a second motion asking the court to send information requests to get information on what had become of the complaints and the criminal cases against the persons who had allegedly given the bribe. This motion was granted.

The next court hearing was set for September 7, 11.00am.