Outrageous 5-and-a-half-year sentence stands despite lack of evidence

May 18th, 2017

Elgiz Gahraman’s verdict remains in force The trial in the Baku Court of Appeal on the complaint of NIDA member Elgiz Gahraman on the verdict of the trial court began with a small delay and with a large gathering of representatives of political parties and civil society. Representatives of the European Union also attended the proceedings. After a thorough check, everyone was allowed into the hall, where Elgiz Gahraman was already sitting in the glass dock. A few minutes later, the courtroom included a judicial panel chaired by Sahibkhan Mirzoyev, who declared the meeting open and recalled what had happened at the previous trial. At this time the convoy freed Gahraman from the aquarium-like dock and he sat on a bench surrounded by police escorts.

The floor was given to lawyer Fariz Namazli: “Elgiz was accused of acquiring drugs for the purpose of selling them. Evidence of this was not confirmed in the first court. We still do not know the reasons for the arrest of Elgiz. During the investigation, the employees of Bandotdela seized the books and took critical information from my client. At that time there was a “hunt” for supporters of Fatullah Gulen. Perhaps in connection with this hunt, they wanted to accuse Elgiz. However, realising that it would be impossible to attribute these accusations to him they resisted this idea. There is only a charge of drugs. Elgiz was interrogated and gave a statement while being tortured without the presence of a lawyer. Then, when the lawyer was allowed to meet with him, he denied his testimony. The decisions of the Supreme Court indicate factors that determine when drugs are purchased for sale. In the case of Elgiz, these factors are not present. Accusations against my client are fabricated and the Major Crimes Court has not proven his guilt. I beg you to clear Elgiz Gahraman of all charges. ”

Then the floor was taken by lawyer Neymat Kerimli: “One of the grounds for the annulment of the verdict is the fact that Elgiz was transferred to the detention centre not in 24 hours, as prescribed by law, but in 6 days. This proves the fact of torture against him. Elgiz said that drugs had been thrown to him. Even if there were drugs during the detention, there are no factors in the case materials proving that they were intended for sale. I ask you to acquit my client. ” Then the judge gave the floor to Elgiz himself: “I graduated from school in 2004 and went to study in Turkey …”. However, the judge interrupted him, saying to speak on the merits. Elgiz continued: “I was detained on August 12, 2016, at about 14:24. I did not have any drugs. They were thrown at me by Bandotdela’s employee Jafarov Shahlar. The search in the house was conducted without my knowledge and 2 books were found, one of which was in Russian, which I do not know. Then there was a trial in the Court of Appeal, on which I did not participate. I was forced to sign a statement on the refusal of an appellate complaint. ”

Then Prosecutor Rasul Abbasov spoke: “I think that the guilt of the accused is proven. He himself signed a plea that he had found drugs. In addition, there are testimonies of witnesses and evidence in the court of police officers who participated in the detention. I ask you to keep the verdict in force.” The court retired to meet and decided to leave the verdict of the Baku Court of Major Crimes, which sentenced Elgiz Gahraman to 5 and a half years in prison. Lawyers said that they will file a legal appeal.