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Summary: Hearing 39
On 28 November 2016 Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov continued the hearing on the criminal case against Muslim Union Movement Chairman Taleh Bagirzade and other members of the Muslim Union Movement, who face charges under 21 articles of the Criminal Code including homicide, terrorism and incitement to violence.
APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli, who is not a member of the Movement but yet stands 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 Shia Muslims and police officers in Nardaran settlement of Baku, during a police operation. 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 Muslims were detained as part of the operation. A criminal case has been launched 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 had been arrested due to his Facebook posts, and that his case was being merged with the criminal case against those arrested in relation to the Nardaran clashes.
At the hearing, lawyer Yalchin Imanov presented his warrant of attorney and stated that he would also represent defendant Zakir Mustafayev.
Examination of witnesses
Nardaran resident Yusif Farajov was examined as a witness.
“The police asked me how many times I had been in Abulfaz Bunyatov’s house, and I said once. That’s the only thing they asked. The rest of what was written there was not written by me, and they did not let me read it. I just signed the document. I have never seen the distribution of weapons in Nardaran, Taleh Bagirzade’s booklet, nor his speeches against the state. I have secondary education. I wanted to read the statement, but they did not allow me to do so. They said, ‘You should not read it, [it will make] your head ache’. The investigator raised his hand and said, ‘Seems like you want to be beaten up’. I signed the testimony out of fear. A letter from the court was sent to me the 18th of this month, and I received it on the 22nd On the 23rd, I wanted to come to the court, but two police officers took me from our doorstep to the 42nd police station of Sabunchu District Police Department, to the office of the police chief, Tarkhan. Tarkhan told me not to go to the court but instead to post a letter stating that I confirmed my statement. I said I would go and testify, but they did not let me go. They kept me there until 6 pm. They also confiscated my identity card. They had me sign a statement saying that I was detained as a suspect in connection with a robbery incident. They said there had been a burglary in Lahij gardens, and I should say that I was detained as a suspect. Today, I left home at 7am, so that they could not detain me, and came to the court to testify,” said the witness.
During his questioning by lawyer Yalchin Imanov, it emerged that the witness had only been 16 years old when he was interrogated by investigator Ismayil Aliyev at the Main Organised Crime Department, and that the interrogation had taken place in the absence of his representative.
The witness’ statement was read out, but he did not confirm it.
The judge said the court would appeal to Baku City Prosecutor’s Office to investigate this procedural violation, and take action against the police officers who prevented the witness from attending the hearing.
Nardaran resident Allahverdi Hadiyev was then examined as a witness. He said he had been taken to the 42nd police station by police officers several days before the hearing. He was told that he was being detained on suspicion of robbery.
When shown his statement by the judge, the witness said the statement and the signature were not his. He said he could not read or write, had not gone to school, and had not signed anything. Comparing the witness’ signature on his identity card with the signature on the statement, the judge found that the two signatures were different. It also transpired that the signature on Hadiyev’s identity card was also not his, which the judge said rendered the card invalid.
Lawyer Nemat Karimli said that signing a document on behalf of an illiterate witness was a clear act of fraud. The lawyer filed a verbal motion to revoke the witness status of the witness and to conduct a handwriting analysis with regard to the signature.
The prosecutor asked for the motion to be rejected. The judge said the law did not provide for the cancellation of the witness status of a witness.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov lodged a motion asking the court to summon investigator Ismayil Aliyev who had interrogated Yusif Farajov, investigator Fikrat Guliyev who had interrogated Allahverdi Hadiyev, and the chief of the 42nd police station (a man names Tarkhan ). The motion was denied.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov said police officer Emin Babayev, who had been examined at the previous hearing, had provided false testimony. The lawyer said although the witness denied being present during the hearing held in Sabunchu District Court in 2015, there was a court record proving his attendance. Imanov requested the court to appeal to the prosecutor’s office for the initiation of a criminal case against the witness for perjury. The motion was left unexamined.
The next hearing was set for November 30, 10.30 am.