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Summary: Hearing 37
On 18 November 2016 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.
At today’s hearing, the presiding judge wanted to postpone the hearing due to the failure of the summoned witnesses to appear, but defendants objected to postponement of the hearing.
“Mr. Judge, I pointed it out at the previous hearing as well that you are talking to us aggressively. You paused the hearing illegally and told us that we all would get our answers. You prevented us from asking questions to police officer Emin Babayev. I am complaining to the court chairperson against you. Pass on my objection to the chairperson,” Abbas Huseynov said and presented his objection in writing.
The judge denied talking to the defendants aggressively. He added that anyone, who violated the rules of the court, would be punished.
After that, defendant Jabbar Jabbarov took the floor. “You took no action when we said the witnesses, who came and testified, were pressured,. Those, who came to watch the hearing, were threatened and their identity cards were taken away. They are now committing even a worse transgression. They do not leave alone the dead, either. Police officers have vandalised the graves of the four persons killed in Nardaran. The gravestones placed on the graves of the deceased by their families were dismantled by the police. It is an inhuman act. Destroying a grave is the most abhorrent action,” Jabbarov said.
The judge said addressing this issue was beyond his competence, but the defendant might appeal to the prosecutor’s office against the police officers who had done this.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov filed a motion in writing to call Karim Alimardanov, the employee of the Main Organised Crime Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who had headed the special operation in Nardaran, Jahangir Hajiyev, the former chairman of the International Bank of Azerbaijan who is currently in prison, and the two attesting witnesses, who had been present during the search of Muslim Union Movement’s office in Yasamal district, to question them as additional witness. The lawyer said defendant Abbas Huseynov had been held in the same cell as Jahangir Hajiyev at the Main Organised Crime Department, and Jahangir Hajiyev had seen Abbas Huseynov being tortured.
The judge said Abbas Huseynov’s objection and lawyer Yalchin Imanov’s motion could not be discussed at today’s hearing due to the absence of the other lawyers.
The hearing was postponed until 23 November, 10.30am, because of the witnesses’ failure to appear.