Journalist Rasim Aliyev’s Murder: Footballer Javid Huseynov’s Appeal Being Heard

July 15th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 1

 At the court hearing, defendant Javid Huseynov’s lawyer Adam Mammadov lodged a motion to hear the appeal through a partial retrial, but the motion was turned down.

Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by judge Hasan Ahmadov, held a preliminary hearing on the appeal filed by Gabala Football Club captain Javid Huseynov, who is charged under Articles 307.1 (failure to inform about a serious crime, despite of being aware of its preparation or committal) and 307.2 (concealment of a serious crime without a prior consent) of the Criminal Code in connection with the murder of journalist Rasim Aliyev. Javid Huseynov was sentenced to 4 years in jail by Sabail District Court’s judgment of May 31, 2016. The current appeal has been filed against this judgment. Five men, including Javid Huseynov’s relative, are currently under the trial investigation in connection with this murder. According to the indictment, Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev were charged with the Article 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim), while Elshan Ismayilov, who is the football player Javid Huseynov’s cousin, and Arif Aliyev were charged with Articles 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim) and 177.1 (theft) of the Criminal Code. On April 01, 2016, Baku Grave Crimes Court convicted five men finding them guilty of committing the crime of murder. The court sentenced Elshan Ismayilov to 13 years, Arif Aliyev to 12.5 years, Jamal Mammadov to 11 years, Kanan Madatov to 9 years, and Samir Mustafayev to 9 years in jail.

Today’s hearing was attended by defendant Javid Huseynov, his lawyer Adam Mammadov and public prosecutor Seyhun Azadaliyev.

Lawyer’s motion:

At the court hearing, defendant Javid Huseynov’s lawyer Adam Mammadov lodged a motion to hear the appeal through a partial retrial. “My argument for the motion is that Mahmudov Aydin Azer oglu should come and be questioned in court. I agree that this person has been questioned in the court of first instance, but during his 10-15 minute interrogation he changed his testimony several times. There are sharp contradictions between his statement provided to the investigator and what he said in court. His witness statement, which was read out, also differs from what he said during his testimony earlier. This witness has witnessed the conversation between Javid Huseynov and late journalist Rasim Aliyev at the hospital, and he is a relative of the journalist. I want the witness to be questioned during the appeal hearing and therefore ask you to order that the appeal be heard through a partial retrial,” the lawyer said.

The public prosecutor said the motion was groundless and the interrogation of the witness would not have any bearing on the case materials.

The court rejected the motion and fixed the hearing date for August 12, 11.00am.

Background: On July 25, 2015, Rasim Aliyev received threatening messages on the social networking website Odnoklassniki. He was shown the images that he had shot while working for IRFS and was told that he would have to answer for them. On July 26, 2015, Rasim Aliyev appealed to Sabail District Police Office #8, informing them of the death threats. However, police failed to take action to protect his life.

On August 6, 2015, Gabala Football Club player Javid Huseynov was interviewed by journalists after the Gabala-Apollo (Cyprus) match of the third qualification round of Europe League. According to the media, Huseynov first called on the journalists, who criticized him for his obscene gesture made during the first leg match, to take a blood test, trying to indirectly hint that those, who criticized him, had Armenian blood in their vessels. Huseynov then acted disrespectfully towards a Cypriot journalist, who asked him why he raised a Turkish flag. Besides telling him in English that “Turks are my friends”, Huseynov made an obscene gesture to our colleague with his hand. The moment was captured by cameras .

Sharing this news on his Facebook page, Rasim Aliyev wrote the following words in his post: “I don’t want such an immoral and ill-mannered footballer, who cannot control himself, to represent me in European stadiums.” After that, Javid Huseynov and his relatives called Rasim Aliyev and Javid’s cousin invited him to a meeting. The moments of beating of Rasim Aliyev, who went to the meeting alone, were fully recorded by the security camera installed for the sake of public order.

Note that journalist Rasim Aliyev was a member of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety since the day of its establishment in 2006. After IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov was forced to go into hiding to avoid arbitrary criminal prosecution last August, Rasim Aliyev was elected the chairman of IRFS in the autumn of 2014 at a report-election conference. The Ministry of Justice was officially informed about the change of IRFS chairman. Although Aliyev was not actually working for IRFS as its projects were stopped due to the suspension of bank accounts, the confiscation of its equipment and documents and the sealing of its office, he remained the chairman of IRFS until his death.