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Summary: Hearing 5 (January 26)
Ø Gabala Football Club player Javid Huseynov, accused of covering up the physical assault that led to the death of journalist Rasim Aliyev, testified that he had had a normal, calm phone conversation with Aliyev, after the latter had criticized him on Facebook, and that he had told his relative Elshan Ismayilov to resolve the issue;
Ø Another witness, Ramin Imranov, testified that he had seen 4-5 people beating Rasim Aliyev in front of Bayil market.
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 imprudence causing the 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 imprudence causing the death of a victim) and 177.1 (theft) of the Criminal Code.
Witness Javid Huseynov’s testimony
Gabala FC player Javid Huseynov, who is charged with covering up the crimes in Rasim Aliyev’s murder case and is currently in detention, testified first. In December 2015, Huseynov’s case was separated from that of the other accused persons involved in the journalist’s assault. His case will be heard by Sabail District Court on January 27.
Thus he is a witness in this trial, but he will also appear as a defendant in a separate trial for knowingly concealing the crime.
In his testimony, Javid Huseynov said he did not know any of the accused persons except his cousin Elshan Ismayilov. While testifying he confirmed his initial witness statement. “I was at home on August 8, 2015. At noon, Elshan (Javid Huseynov’s cousin, who is a defendant in this trial) sent me a WhatsApp message saying ‘see what they have written about you.’ I read what Rasim Aliyev had written about me on Facebook and told Elshan ‘it is nonsense, but let them write it, it’s no problem. They write many things about all famous people.’ But it turned out that Elshan had had a phone conversation with Rasim Aliyev before writing to me and they had argued. When we were talking, Elshan told me, ‘you don’t interfere, Rasim cursed my mother.’ I saw that Elshan was nervous and told him to give me Rasim Aliyev’s number, which he did.
I phoned Rasim and introduced myself. I spoke with Rasim and said I was phoning about what he had written about me on Facebook. I told Rasim, ‘if you are interested in my morality, you can go and ask about me at the school that I went to or my sport clubs.’ Rasim said, ‘you have insulted my Cypriot journalist colleague.’ I told him that I had put my hand on my chest and then struck my fists together to denote Azeri-Turkish friendship. He apologized. I told him to explain his [Facebook] post. He said OK. I then talked with Elshan and said that Rasim had apologized, and that the issue was closed. I did not organize Rasim’s meeting with Elshan. After the incident, Elshan phoned me and said he had met with Rasim and kicked him once. On that day, I had football training. When I went online after the training, I saw an article that said ‘Javid Huseynov’s relatives have beaten a journalist.’ As my name was mentioned there, and sp my conscience could not rest, I went to the hospital where Rasim was being treated. When I asked Rasim how it had happened, he said Elshan had phoned and invited him to meet for tea. When I was in the hospital, Rasim told me that five men had beaten him, and that his phone and wallet had been stolen during the incident.
After speaking with Rasim, I phoned Elshan and asked him who the five people were. Elshan said, ‘you don’t know them, they live in Razin.’ I asked Elshan whether he had taken Rasim’s phone and wallet. He said he had not. I didn’t know he was going to die. On August 9, my brother called and said Rasim Aliyev had passed away. After that, I texted Elshan and told him to go hire a lawyer, surrender to the police and tell everything. On August 9, I was stopped by the police on Shamakhi highway while driving from Baku to Gabala. At the police station, I told everything I knew. They released me on recognizance not to leave the country. But I was arrested two days later,” said Javid Huseynov in his court testimony.
Witness Ramin Imranov’s testimony
In his testimony, witness Ramin Imranov said he did not know the defendants or the late journalist’s family. “I was standing with my friend in front of a doner kebab shop next to Bayil market on August 8, 2015. We saw 4-5 persons kicking another person on the ground. When we came up, Rasim Aliyev broke free from his assailants and ran to the other side of the road. His assailants ran in the opposite direction. My friend and I picked up Rasim Aliyev’s watch, 30 kopecks and his car keys, and gave them to him when he was standing on the other side of the road. Then, he got in his car and drove off. I did not see who delivered which blows,” said Ramin Imranov.
Witness Nihat Abbasli’s testimony
Nihat Abbasli said he was a cousin of both Elshan Ismayilov and Javid Huseynov. He said he did not know the other defendants. “I provided an accurate statement during the investigation. On August 9, 2015, I saw on the internet that someone called Rasim Aliyev had died, and that Javid Huseynov’s relatives were involved in his death. Elshan’s name was also mentioned in that article. After seeing this, I went to Elshan’s house. Elshan was at home. Elshan said that they had not kicked [Rasim] hard. Elshan said that Rasim had cursed him and so he – Elshan – has gone to meet with him. After that, we talked with Javid Huseynov. Javid said he did not want his football club’s reputation to be damaged. Javid advised Elshan to surrender to the police. After that, Elshan went to my house and bid farewell to our grandmother, and we went to the police. When talking with me, Elshan said he regretted what he had done,” said Nihat Abbasli.
As another witness due to testify was not present, so the hearing was postponed until February 2, 10.30am.