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> Akif Chovdarov: These people are like hyenas and vultures;
> Victim: I have suffered a total damage of AZN 6,322,000.
On 27 February, Baku Military Court chairman Habib Hasanov presided over a hearing hosted by Sabunchu District Court on the criminal case of former head of the General Directorate for Energy and Transport Security of the dissolved Ministry of National Security (MNS) Major General Akif Chovdarov, former head of the 1st department Salim Mammadov, former head of the 2nd department Akif Aliyev and former deputy head of the 1st division of the 3rd department Orkhan Osmanov.
As the journalists were not granted access to the courtroom, the media representatives were informed of the hearing by the lawyers.
At the hearing, Akif Chovdarov’s lawyers filed a motion requesting that the register of Yeni Yasamal Housing Construction Cooperative (HCC) be presented to the court. The motion was granted. After that, several witnesses, who had purchased apartments from Yeni Yasamal HCC, gave testimony.
Nadir Feyziyev was questioned as a victim. He denied his investigation statement in the part where it said that the person, who had detained him in MNS, was Ali Nabiyev. Confronted with Nabiyev at the hearing, Feyziyev noted that Nabiyev was not the man who had held him and that he did not remember the persons who had detained him and demanded apartment and money.
Chovdarov’s lawyers asked victim Jahangir Alishov how he had contacted Chovdarov. He said they contacted via phone. But the lawyers noted that there had not been any phone conversation between them until 2014. Chovdarov, in turn, commented on Alishov’s testimony, saying that the victim was telling a lie. “These people are like hyenas and vultures. They have come to take advantage of the situation. There is a corruption-related criminal case against Jahangir Alishov. They have put him in this case, so he is not detained,” Chovdarov said.
Recall that, Yeni Yasamal HCC head Jahangir Alishov had testified at the previous hearing as a victim and confirmed the statement that he had provided to investigators. His investigation statement read that, in 2010, they called him to MNS and demanded an apartment and non-residential space in a building constructed by them and AZN 1,000,000. Akif Chovdarov and his men threatened the victim that he would be arrested if he refused to give what was requested of him. Therefore, together with his partner Nasib Aliyev, he registered 19 apartments, four garages, three non-residential premises (market) and one cellar in the names of the people specified by MNS. A total of 27 agreements were drawn up. Despite the fact that that apartment had previously been sold to other people and been paid for. Afterwards, he was additionally demanded to give AZN 500,000 and six apartments and one non-residential area in a building constructed by Yeni Yasamal HCC. He again provided the required apartments and non-residential premises and AZN 350,000.
In the second half of the day, Rauf Sultanov testified as a witness. He noted that they had complained to MNS about the fraudulent activities of Nasib Aliyev, and after that, Nasib Aliyev gave them an apartment.
After the hearing, victim Jahangir Alishov spoke to journalists. He noted that the court was examining all episodes. “I have suffered a total damage of AZN 6,322,000. Beside me, 60 people have been recognised as victims. You don’t need a guide when the mountain is in sight. This crime has been committed. Akif Chovdarov first pretended to be ill, but he has become more active lately. This is because his lawyers have given him confidence. We hope that the damage caused will be recompensed and the rule of law will be ensured. Akif Chovdarov has pressurised me. He threatened me with beating and arrest. I have suffered real damage. In this way, he has misappropriated our property. The crimes have been confirmed. Akif Chovdarov has admitted some of them and kept silent with a sad look regarding others,” Alishov said.
The proceedings will continue on 1 March.
Background: Akif Chovdarov and others are charged with illegal imprisonment resulting by inadvertence in the death of the victim or other grave consequences; misappropriation or squandering committed by an organised group in a large amount; banditry; extortion; illegal possession of a weapon; infringement of the legislation on operative search activity, committed with use of technical means designed to secretly obtain information; receiving a bribe; service forgery; and, abuse and excess of authority, perpetrated by a group of people with use of a weapon.
In order to ensure the payment of the damages caused to the victims, a total of 33 million 466 thousand AZN worth of property and money belonging to defendants Akif Chovdarov, Salim Mammadov, Akif Aliyev and Orkhan Osmanov, including 8 million 967 thousand AZN worth of trade and service facilities, greenhouses, fishing farms and other property complexes and land plots, 24 million 445 thousand AZN worth of detached houses, apartments and vehicles, and 37 thousand AZN worth of jewellery products have been attached to court decisions.
The Ministry of National Security was dissolved under a Presidential decree in December 2015 and was replaced by two new agencies, the State Security Service and the Foreign Security Service.
While in office, Akif Chovdarov’s name was repeatedly mentioned in connection with pressures against journalists. In February 2008, Azadliq newspaper reporter Agil Khalil was attacked by Chief of MNS General Directorate, Colonel Akif Chovdarov and Directorate employee Daghbayi Allahverdiyev while filming the felling of trees in olive gardens in Baku. The journalist was beaten up and sustained injuries to his face, hand, chest and head and a broken finger. The attack was filmed by casual passers-by and uploaded on the internet. After that, the journalist was persecuted by Chovdarov, repeatedly threatened and illegally prevented from leaving the country. Ultimately, the reporter managed to leave the country.
Former political prisoner Eynulla Fatullayev also made interesting revelations about Chovdarov. He noted that Chovdarov had visited him at the MNS detention centre and threatened that they would do to him what they had once done to Elmar Huseynov.