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Journalist Rasim Aliyev’s Murder Case: Autopsy Results Announced
Summary: Hearing 7 (February 09)
Ø The court reviewed the documents attached to the criminal case materials (expert reports and the letter from the Minister of Health);
Ø The court denied the motion by lawyer Asabali Mustafayev to summon the Minister of Health Ogtay Shiraliyev, who had sent in a letter refuting the allegations of medical malpractice, to testify as a witness;
Ø Shamsaddin Guliyev, the lawyer for the defendant Jamal Mammadov, filed a motion to subpoena the experts that issued opinions on Rasim Aliyev’s death. The motion was partially granted by the court.
Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by judge Eldar Ismayilov, continued the hearing on the criminal case launched into the murder of the former IRFS chairman and journalist Rasim Aliyev, who died in hospital after being brutally assaulted in August 2015. A number of witnesses testified at the hearing.
Five men are on trial for their involvement in the journalist’s murder. Under the indictment, Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev are charged under Article 126.3 (deliberately causing serious harm to health, entailing on imprudence death of a victim), while Elshan Ismayilov, the cousin of footballer Javid Huseynov, and Arif Aliyev are charged under Articles 126.3 (deliberately causing serious harm to health, entailing on imprudence death of a victim) and 177.1 (theft) of the Criminal Code.
Examination of documents:
At today’s hearing, the documents attached to the criminal case materials were reviewed. The results of both the preliminary and final autopsy were announced. The initial expert examination was carried out by the Sabail District Department of the Forensic Medical Examination and Pathological Anatomy Union on August 20, 2015. The expert report described the injuries found on the corpse of Rasim Aliyev: the blunt chest wall and abdominal trauma, which caused an acute internal hemorrhage and was accompanied by displaced fractures of the 5th and 6th left ribs along the front underarm line and of the 7th and 8th left ribs along the spine; laceration of the left lung; right lung contusion and laceration; right- and left-sided hemothorax (accumulation of blood in the pleural cavity: 350-400 ml in the right pleural cavity and 100-150 ml in the left pleural cavity); right-sided pneumothorax (accumulation of air in the pleural cavity: 400-500 cubic centimeters of air in the left pleural cavity); rupture and the surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy), total hemorrhage of the pancreas and rupture of the body of the pancreas near its tail; hemoperitoneum (accumulation of 1.5 liters of blood in the abdominal cavity).
The report concluded that the injuries were caused by impact from blunt solid object(s) and that there was a direct causal relationship with Rasim’s death, which could have been caused within the time and circumstances specified in the descriptive part of the decision, i.e. on 08.08.2015, by the direct impact of blunt object(s) with a limited surface on the left half of the chest wall and stomach, perhaps from the impact of punches and kicks. The right lung contusion and laceration could be the result of the right-side of the body hitting a blunt object with wide surface after the blow had been delivered, and according to their overall degree of severity, bear characteristics of infliction of life-threatening serious harm. Rasim Aliyev’s death was caused by cardiopulmonary failure, developed amid acute internal blood loss, which resulted from the above-mentioned complex trauma.
The Forensic Medical Examination and Pathological Anatomy Union’s panel forensic examination report #264/KEŞ dated 13.10.2015 reads that “according to the forensic-medical and histological examination of Rasim Aliyev’s corpse, his death was caused by acute pulmonary and cardiovascular failure developed due to pulmonary injury accompanied by internal bleeding that resulted from splenic rupture and injury of the tail of the pancreas. According to the patient’s medical documents, he was admitted to the Clinical Medical Center on 08.08.2015, at 18.45. After proper medical examinations, he was correctly diagnosed with ‘blunt chest wall and abdominal trauma, multiple fractures of the ribs on the right-side, and closed pneumothorax’, and a strategy of close observation was selected in accordance with the diagnosis. The dynamic observations conducted after Rasim Aliyev’s admission to the Clinical Medical Center did not show objective grounds to suspect a hemorrhage.
However, taking into account the sudden deterioration of the patient’s overall condition and decline in his hemodynamic parameters and positive symptoms of peritoneal irritation, it was concluded that the patient had a two-stage rupture of the spleen. Thus, immediate surgery was planned. The urgent ‘laparotomy, splenectomy, stitching up the wound of the pancreatic tail, stopping the bleeding, sanitation and drainage of the peritoneal cavity, thoracentesis, and drainage of both pleural cavities was carried out in an accurate and timely manner from the tactical point of view. Necessary medical assistance was provided after the surgical operation was performed on Rasim Aliyev, and this medical assistance was adequate in regard to the scope, seriousness and nature of the patient’s surgery. However, given the nature and characteristics of the damage to the internal organs that was revealed, the individual characteristics of the body, and the poor functioning of compensatory functions, the otherwise adequate medical interventions were not effective and had an undesirable result. The examination and treatment (surgical operation) of Rasim Aliyev at the Clinical Medical Center were in line with the guidelines available in the healthcare system.
The judge also read out the letter that the investigative agency had received from the Minister of Health, Ogtay Shiraliyev. In his letter to the Baku City Prosecutor’s Office, Shiraliyev stated that the doctors were not guilty in relation to Rasim Aliyev’s death.
Motion by the representative of the victim’s legal heir:
The representative of the victim’s legal heir, Asabali Mustafayev, filed a motion requesting that the Minister of Health, Ogtay Shiraliyev testify as a witness at the trial, because he had sent a letter stating that the doctors were not guilty in Rasim Aliyev’s death. “There are contradictions between the doctors’ initial statements and the points presented in Ogtay Shiraliyev’s letter. The minister should come and testify in court to clear up these inconsistencies,” stated Mustafayev. The court did not grant this motion.
Shamsaddin Guliyev, laywer for the defendant Jamal Mammadov, filed a motion requesting the interrogation of the doctors that had examined and treated Rasim Aliyev, and the people who last saw the journalist at the hospital, as additional witnesses. This motion had already been filed twice by the representative of the victim’s legal heir at previous hearings, but had not been granted. It was similarly rejected at this hearing.
Shamsaddin Guliyev’s second motion requested that the experts who had issued opinions on Rasim Aliyev’s death be summoned to testify in court. The judge partially granted the motion, stating that it would be expedient to interrogate only two of the experts.
The trial will continue on February 16, at 10.30am.