Summary: Hearing 2
- Rufat Safarov pleaded not guilty. He stated that the bribe charges and allegations put forth in the indictment were all fabricated.
Shirvan Appeal Court continued the hearing on the appeal lodged by former investigator Rufat Safarov against Lankaran Grave Crimes Court’s judgment of 8 September 2016, which sentenced Safarov to 9 years in jail.
Rufat Safarov resigned from the prosecution authorities on 20 December 2015 due to what he described as rampant lawlessness and human rights violations, however according to official records he was discharged by the order of the Prosecutor General, Zakir Garalov. According to the order, Rufat Safarov has been dismissed from the 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.” Safarov was subsequently charged under Article 311.3.2 (repeated bribe-taking) of the Criminal Code. He was detained on 15 January 2016, but was released under house arrest on January 22. The former investigator was convicted and sentenced to 9 years in jail on 8 September 2016. Rufat Safarov is the son of former Defense Ministry spokesman, ex-MP Eldar Sabiroglu.
Defendant Rufat Safarov’s testimony
Testifying at the hearing, Rufat Safarov pleaded not guilty. He said the bribe charges and allegations put forth in the indictment were all fabricated.
“I couldn’t stand the ongoing human rights violations and illegal practices in the prosecutor’s office. I exercised my right to freedom of expression and spoke up about these problems. As a sign of protest, I resigned from the prosecutor’s office. This trumped-up criminal case is an act of retaliation against me for exercising my right to freedom of expression,” declared Safarov.
The former investigator said he was being charged with five counts of accepting bribes, with all of the alleged bribe-givers being employees of the local authorities or municipality. “After my resignation, the Prosecutor General’s Office sent an inspection team to the Zardab Regional Prosecutor’s Office. These people have been used against me. Among them is Eldaniz Abdullayev, head of Zardab Regional Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This person has allegedly given me a bribe – so why didn’t they set him up during the preliminary investigation or trial? In bribery cases, there is usually video evidence and marked money. Why isn’t there any in this case? Because it is an utterly and completely fabricated criminal case,” added Safarov.
The trial will continue on December 22.