Objection to Presiding Judge Left Undecided in Nardaran Trial

November 23rd, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 38 

  • The objection to the presiding judge raised by defendant Abbas Huseynov at the previous hearing was discussed. The public prosecutor requested the dismissal of the motion. After more than one hour of deliberation, the objection remained undecided;
  •  The court hearing was again postponed due to the failure of the summoned witnesses to appear.

On 23 November 2016 Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov, continued the hearing on the criminal case against Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade and other members of the Muslim Union Movement (MUM), charged 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 MUM but stands accused of promoting their cause, is charged with Articles 220.2 (making calls for active insubordination to lawful requirements of representatives of authority and for mass disorder, 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. 

On 26 November 2015 an armed incident occurred between a group of Shia Muslims and police officers in the Nardaran settlement of Baku, during an operation conducted by the police. According to official reports, the shootout resulted six fatalities, including two police officers. Taleh Bagirzade, the leader of the Muslim Union Movement, and several others were detained as part of the operation. The Prosecutor General’s Office has launched criminal case in relation to the incident.

Fuad Gahramanli, who was not present during the incident, was arrested on 8 December 2015. His lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, has stated that Gahramanli was arrested due to his Facebook posts, following which his case was merged with the Nardaran criminal case.

At the hearing, the objection by defendant Abbas Huseynov to presiding judge Alovsat Abbasov was discussed. Huseynov’s justification was that the presiding judge had failed to include the majority of the witness questions asked by the defendants and their lawyers, did not let the defendants make comments, unlawfully and groundlessly interrupted the cross-examination of Emin Babayev, the officer of the 15th police station of Sabunchu District Police Department, postponed the hearing, and did not allow for comments on the public prosecutor’s speech.

The other defendants and lawyers asked for the motion to be granted.

Public prosecutor Nasib Bayramov said the objection contained errors and the lawyers needed to correct them. Then, he requested that the objection be denied, claiming that it did not comply with the criminal procedure legislation.

Thereafter, judges Eldar Mikayilov and Mahmud Agalarov broke for deliberation.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the judges announced the decision. According to the decision, the objection was left undecided, on the basis that it lacked the specific grounds stipulated in the legislation.

A one-hour break followed. After the break, the presiding judge announced that the witnesses had once again failed to attend court. The hearing was postponed until November 28, 10.30am.