> Both parties’ opinions overlap on the issue of doctors’ responsibility;
> Defendant’s lawyer: They broke Rasim’s rib in the hospital.
On 29 March, Baku Court of Appeal held a hearing on the appeal filed against the judgment of the persons convicted of the death of IRFS’ former chairman, journalist Rasim Aliyev. Presiding judge Gadim Babayev announced that the court was going to discuss the lawyers’ motion lodged at the previous hearing which requested that the X-ray images were taken at the time of Rasim Aliyev’s admission to the hospital be presented to the court and the doctors that had examined Rasim be questioned in court as additional witnesses.
The defendants’ lawyers quoted the documents in the case file as saying that Rasim Aliyev had been admitted to the hospital with a broken rib and damaged internal organs. However, despite the availability of an X-ray image in that regard, it has not been included among the criminal case materials, and the doctors have not testified in court.
Fariz Namazli, the lawyer of victim’s legal heiress, Rasim Aliyev’s mother Teyfura Aliyeva, said the opinions of the injured party and the defendants coincided on this issue. “Both the accused party and us as the injured party filed numerous motions in this regard at the court of the first instance. We believe that the doctors are also guilty in Rasim Aliyev’s death and they should be brought to justice. Therefore, we want the motion to be granted,” Namazli said.
Shamsaddin Guliyev, the lawyer of four of the defendants, claimed that the fatal injuries had been inflicted on Rasim Aliyev in the hospital, which is why the X-ray image was not put forward. The lawyer stressed that Rasim Aliyev’s injuries were not serious at the time of his admission to the hospital, which has been documented in the X-ray image. “The allegations that Rasim Aliyev was operated on are a lie. They had not operated on him. They broke his ribs and tore his spleen and pancreas after he had died. Had he had fatal injuries when he came to the hospital, the X-ray image would’ve shown that. That’s why they are hiding the images. If his injuries were serious and he had a torn spleen as stated in the medical report, why did not they operate on him as soon as he came to the hospital, but waited for eight hours if we take their word for it,” the lawyer said.
The prosecutor objected to the motions. The court did not grant any of the motions, much to the indignation of the accused. “They brought passers-by to testify as a witness, but not the doctors. None of the fifty motions filed in court so far has been granted. And you dare to call this a trial?!” defendant Jamal Mammadov said.
Defendant Samir Mustafayev said he had nothing to do with the journalist’s beating to death. He also complained of the court’s unfairness. “What am I guilty of? What do you want from me? Who would go to a fight wearing slippers? I have been keeping silent since the Grave Crimes Court to see whether there will be an honest person who will hear this case objectively? There is none,” the defendant noted.
At the stage of courtroom speeches, the injured party’s representative Fariz Namazli asked for Baku Grave Crimes Court’s judgment on Rasim Aliyev’s death to be repealed and the case to be returned to the court of the first instance for re-examination. The lawyer called the judgment unlawful. “It is impossible to uphold a part of the judgment and to refer back another part. Our main dissatisfaction is with the fact that the doctors have not been brought to justice. The court has passed an unlawful judgment on the basis of an unlawful indictment bill. We ask that the judgment be revoked,” the lawyer said.
Victim Teyfura Aliyeva also believes that the doctors are as much as guilty as the persons convicted of her son’s death. “Of course, it is the actions of these savage people instructed and sent by Javid Huseynov that have led to such a result. These people, including Javid, are dangerous. Such people are the reason why football is not developing in Azerbaijan. I consider the sentences handed to these persons to be lighter. But the doctors have also failed to take the necessary measures in time. They had kept Rasim in the corridor for almost two hours by the time we arrived in the hospital. Rasim even argued with Dr Babak because of that. The doctors have played as much as a role in Rasim’s death as these people. Therefore, we want the doctors to be brought to criminal responsibility as well,” Aliyeva said.
During his speech, lawyer Shamsaddin Guliyev said one of his four clients, Samir Mustafayev, should be acquitted, because he was not guilty at all, while Elshan Ismayilov, Jamal Mammadov and Arif Aliyev should be punished on charges adequate to their offences. According to the defence counsel, their charges were tougher and thus inadequate to their offences.
Lawyer Rasul Yusifbayli and Shamsaddin Guliyev asked the court to give them time to prepare for their speeches.
The proceedings will continue on 12 April.
Background: Journalist Rasim Aliyev died in City Clinical Hospital #1 on 8 August 2015, just hours after being battered by a group of people. The incident stemmed from the journalist’s criticism of footballer Javid Huseynov on his Facebook page.
Javid Huseynov’s cousin, Elshan Ismayilov called Rasim Aliyev and demanded that he post a retraction, leading to an argument between the two. As a result, with the intent to take revenge on Rasim Aliyev, Elshan Ismayilov formed a group consisting of his friends Jamal Mammadov, Arif Aliyev, Kanan Madatov and Samir Mustafayev, and met with Rasim Aliyev in front of Bayil Market in Bayil settlement at around 4 pm on 8 August 2015. They inflicted multiple serious bodily injuries to Rasim Aliyev by beating him with hand and foot causing damage to his internal organs and fled the scene. Despite being taken to Baku Clinical Medical Centre by ambulance, Rasim Aliyev died several hours later.
In connection with the journalist’s death, Javid Huseynov and five other people were arrested. Convicted of the journalist’s death, Elshan Ismayilov was sentenced to 13 years, Jamal Mammadov to 11 years, Arif Aliyev to 12.5 years, and Kanan Madatov and Samir Mustafayev each to 9 years in jail.
Based on the criminal case materials, Javid Huseynov was convicted of concealing a serious crime and sentenced to 4 years in jail by Sabail District Court’s judgment.
On 12 October 2016, Baku Appeal Court reduced Javid Huseynov’s sentence from 4 years to 1 year 2 months, and as the latter term had been served out, the footballer was released.