Operatives, Whose Names Are Linked with Torture in ‘Nardaran Case’, Testify in Journalist’s Trial

Summary: 7th hearing

Operatives of the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) Ibrahim Kazimov and Islam Agabayov were questioned at the hearing as a witness.

On 24 February, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Eldar Mikayilov held another hearing on the criminal case of Jam.az website editor, journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu.

Operatives of the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) were questioned at the hearing as a witness. Ibrahim Kazimov, an operative nicknamed Shrek whose name is linked with torture in the ‘Nardaran case’, testified first. He noted that victim Mehman Hasanov had appealed to the MOCD that Faramazoglu had demanded AZN 3,000 from him for materials published on Jam.az. After that, an operational team was formed. Attesting witnesses were invited, and specifically marked banknotes were given to Mehman Hasanov. Then, they went to the scene in two cars. Along the way, Mehman repeatedly dialled Fikrat Faramazoglu’s phone number but was unable to reach him. Therefore, they visited Faramazoglu’s usual place in Narimanov district area on the way. Having arrived there, Hasanov got out of the car, entered the office, but came back saying that Fikrat was not there. Then, they came to the scene. They took a position outside the Ceremonial Hall near the 20 January metro station and waited. Mehman Hasanov met with Fikrat and gave the money to him. The operatives approached Fikrat, introduced themselves and arrested him. Then, they went to Fikrat’s apartment together with him and took a laptop and a list containing hotel names from there.

Kazimov gave conflicting answers to the questions asked by the public prosecutor and the defence counsels. Faramazoglu said the witness was telling a lie. “It is you who is telling a lie, you unscrupulous person,” Kazimov told Faramazoglu. “Unscrupulous is you, framer,” Faramazoglu fired back. The judge stepped in, warning the two men and urging them to behave ethically.

Faramazoglu noted that he was having lunch in the Alma restaurant when Hasanov called him several times. He did not pick up the phone, as he did not want to talk to him. He left the restaurant and was getting in his car when they approached him and put cuffs on his hands. “They got me to the back seat of my car. Ibrahim Kazimov drove the car. They drove me around the city and returned to the place where they had detained me. At that moment, someone whose face I did not see put something into my pocket. I told him ‘do not do such dishonesty’. I first thought they had put drugs into my pocket. Then, they brought me to the MOCD and drew up a record. I was not there when the things were taken from my apartment. I have not signed the paper,” Faramazoglu said.

While answering questions, Fikrat Faramazoglu said Tahir Alimardanov had also been at the scene, but Ibrahim Kazimov denied that.

The record was read out in court. When shown the signatures on the record, Faramazoglu said they did not belong to him. However, after Ibrahim Kazimov stated that Fikrat had admitted the crime, the journalist’s statement was read out. The statement contradicted the record. Faramazoglu said that although they had told him to write what they dictated by striking him in the head, he had written what he knew and the process took five days.

Next, MOCD operative Islam Agabayov testified. He repeated what had been told by Kazimov. During cross-examination, he noted that the record had been drawn up by the Department, but he was unaware of the statement. According to the witness, Faramazoglu was together with them during the search of his apartment, there was no one else at home, and the journalist was not handcuffed. Agabayov added that Fikrat had not been subjected to any torture.

Then, attesting witness Israfil Hamzayev was invited. However, lawyer Elchin Sadigov said it was past six o’clock and the working day was over, and he had to go as he had an important thing to do. Although the judge insisted on the questioning of the witness, the lawyer left the courtroom. Therefore, the judge had to stop the hearing.

The next hearing was set for 3 March, 4 pm.

Background: Fikrat Faramazoglu was arrested on 30 June 2016. He is charged under Article 182 (extortion) of the Criminal Code. On 2 July 2016, Narimanov District Court ordered his pre-trial detention.

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