Journalist Rasim Aliyev’s Murder: Lawyer Requests Acquittal of Footballer Javid Huseynov

August 12th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 2

 At the hearing, lawyer Ilgar Musayev joined lawyer Adam Mammadov in the legal team representing Javid Huseynov;
 Defendant Javid Huseynov’s lawyer Adam Mammadov made a speech and asked for his client’s acquittal;
 Javid Huseynov made a speech and pleaded not guilty.

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 31 May 2016. The current appeal has been filed against this judgment.

Five men, including Javid Huseynov’s relative, were arrested and indicted in connection with this murder. According to the indictment, Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov and Samir Mustafayev were charged under Article 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim) of the Criminal Code, while Elshan Ismayilov, who is the football player Javid Huseynov’s cousin, and Arif Aliyev were charged under 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 1 April 2016, Baku Grave Crimes Court convicted the 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.
Lawyer Ilgar Musayev has joined lawyer Adam Mammadov in the legal team representing Javid Huseynov.
Lawyer’s speech:

Lawyer Adam Mammadov made a speech at the hearing: “The charges brought against Javid Huseynov are absurd. A great injustice has been done to the footballer both during the preliminary investigation and in the court of first instance. Maybe there have not been more ridiculous charges in the entire history of Azerbaijani judiciary and investigation. They are charging Javid Huseynov of knowingly failing to report a serious crime to the police. When he heard the news, all the media had already written about it and the late [Rasim Aliyev] had also reported it to the police. What was Javid Huseynov supposed to do; to call 102 once again? Or what cover-up can one talk about when he (ed.: Javid Huseynov) texted (ed.: to Elshan Ismayilov) “go hire a lawyer and surrender” after the incident? Javid Huseynov’s father was martyred in the battles for Karabakh when Javid was too small. He was one of the founders of Jabrayil region’s self-defence battalion. He was awarded a “Medal of Bravery” by the President. Javid Huseynov has not committed any crime. We request that he be acquitted,” the lawyer said.

Defendant’s speech:

Javid Huseynov took the floor next. “The entire Azerbaijani people know that I am innocent,” Javid said.

The next hearing was set for August 19, 11.00am.

Background: On 25 July 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 26 July 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 6 August 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.

A criminal case was launched in connection with Rasim Aliyev’s death under Article 126.3 (deliberate causing of serious harm to health entailing on imprudence death of a victim) of the Criminal Code, as part of which five people were arrested. 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 1 April 2016, Baku Grave Crimes Court convicted the 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.

Gabala Football Club captain Javid Huseynov was also arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Rasim Aliyev and 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 a separate criminal case. Javid Huseynov was sentenced to 4 years in jail by Sabail District Court’s judgment of 31 May 2016.