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Summary: Hearing 23
Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov continued the hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade and other members of the Muslim Union Movement, charged under 21 articles of the Criminal Code including homicide, terrorism and incitement.
The APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli who is not a member of the Movement but yet accused of promoting their cause is charged under Articles 220.2 (making calls for active insubordination to lawful requirements of representatives of authority and for mass disorders, as well as violence against citizens), 281.2 (public appeals directed against the state, committed repeatedly or by a group of people) and 283.2.1 (instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility, by using or threatening to use violence) of the Criminal Code respectively.
On 26 November 2015 an armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku, during an operation conducted by the police. According to official reports, the shootout resulted in the death of six, including two police officers. Taleh Bagirzade, the leader of the Muslim Union Movement, and several believers were detained as part of the operation. A criminal case has been launched in relation to the incident by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic.
Fuad Gahramanli, who was not present during the incident, was arrested on 8 December, 2015. His lawyer Yalchin Imanov said that Fuad Gahramanli was arrested due to his Facebook posts and his case was merged with the criminal case of the people arrested over the Nardaran incidents.
Before the start of the hearing, defendant Taleh Bagirzade said he had been placed in punitive segregation for 5 days. “They say it outright that ‘we are hurting you due to your speeches and this order comes from the President’s Office,” Bagirzade said.
Presiding judge Alovsat Abbasov said this matter did not concern the court.
Objection to public prosecutor:
Defendant Abbas Huseynov filed an objection to public prosecutor Nasib Bayramov, arguing that the prosecutor showed favouritism to police officers testifying as victims and gave them cues when they were answering questions. Abbas Huseynov asked the court to replace public prosecutor Nasib Bayramov.
The defence lawyers and the other defendants supported the objection.
Abbas Huseynov went on to file a motion to summon and interrogate Khazar TV Director Huseyn Dinlemez. “Khazar TV had aired a video and labelled us as terrorists before we were even arrested or Nardaran incident occurred. Huseyn Dinlemez must come and say where he had received that information from,” Abbas Huseynov said.
The presiding judge said they would discuss only the objection. The lawyers and the defendants asked the court to grant the objection. They also supported Abbas Huseynov’s motion as well.
Commenting on the objection, public prosecutor Nasib Bayramov said Abbas Huseynov lacked legal education and the objection was unfounded. He said the Criminal Procedure Code had clearly specified the grounds for objection. The prosecutor asked for the dismissal of the objection.
The court denied the objection.
Lawyer Nemat Karimli asked the judges for time to prepare an objection to the composition of the court panel. “According to the law, judges are independent. And, all dubious cases must be resolved in favour of the accused. The deliberations must be confidential. The prosecutor must not come and go with the judges. But the prosecutor comes and goes together with one of the judges, and neither the presiding judge nor lay judges say anything about it. Therefore, we file an objection to the whole bench,” the lawyer said.
The defence lawyers and the defendants supported the objection.
The court gave the lawyers time to prepare the motion. After a 30-minute break, the motion was discussed. The presiding judge said the motion would be left undecided.
Thereafter, Division Chief of Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of Ministry of Internal Affairs Rustam Jafarov testified. “On 26 November 2015, the Main Department received information that Taleh Bagirzade had created an armed gang to forcibly seize state power of Azerbaijan Republic and to change the constitutional order by force. An operation team was formed to check the accuracy of this information, and at 12.15pm we headed to Nardaran together with attesting witnesses. In Nardaran, we took operational positions near the house. After making sure that Taleh Bagirzade and his supporters were in the house to the right of the entrance to the yard, we entered the yard at about 1 pm. Noticing us, those in the yard and in the house began firing at the [operational] team members. We made several warnings to them to not open fire, but despite this they did not comply and continued firing at us from submachine guns and pistols. One of them, a lean guy wearing a white shirt, threw a grenade. Police officers Vugar Nasibov and Ismayil Tagiyev, who were in the middle of the yard, were wounded by the grenade splinters scattering around and the fired bullets as they were ahead. I entered the house on the right hand side of the yard and neutralised Alibala Valiyev who had a knife in his hand. The hand grenade and the lighter taken from the left side-pocket of his trousers and the knife seized from his hand were packaged and sealed. Then we returned to the Department,” Rustam Jafarov said.
After finishing his testimony, Jafarov was cross-examined by lawyer Nemat Karimli. “You were going to encounter an armed gang and the two deceased police officers were going in front but had only rubber bullet guns. By what logic it happened so,” the lawyer asked. “This is what they are calling fate,” Jafarov replied.
Defendant Jabbar Jabbarov claimed that Rustam Jafarov was one of those who kicked them in the Main Organised Crime Department building. Jafarov rejected the claim.
The next hearing was set for October 7, 10.30am.