Fuad Gahramanli, the Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), was arrested on December 8, 2015. He is being charged under articles 281 (making appeals against the state) and 283 (incitement of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility) of the Criminal Code. According to the indictment, Gahramanli called upon citizens to disobey government representatives and committed actions aimed at inciting religious hatred and hostility between various sects of Islam, through numerous posts on Facebook since September 2015. Users who ‘liked’ Fuad Gahramanli’s Facebook posts or wrote comments under themhave been summoned to the Organized Crime Department of the Interior Ministry to give evidence, reported Fad Gahramanli’s wife Zumrud Yagmur.
According to Zumrud Yagmur, someone wishing to remain anonymous told her that a number of people have been invited to the Organized Crime Department for interrogation.
Zumrud Yagmur said she saw no point in questioning these people, and added that they would probably use some of these persons in the show trial that she anticipates.
Background: Fuad Gahramanli was arrested on December 8, 2015, and a criminal case was launched against him under Articles 281.1 (public appeals to violent capture of authority, violent retention of authority or violent change to the constitutional basis or infringement of territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as distribution of relevant materials) and 283.2.1 (incitement of national, racial or religious hatred and hostility with application of violence or with threat of its application) of the Criminal Code. The prosecution accuses Gahramanli of making appeals against the state on religious grounds via Facebook pages and the media, but Gahramanli rejects the charges, believing that they are politically motivated. On the day of his arrest, his apartment was searched and his computer was seized. According to Gahramanli’s lawyer, his client’s case is being investigated as part of the same proceedings as the Nardaran events.
An armed clash took place between a group of Shia Muslims and policemen in the Nardaran settlement of Baku on November 26, 2015, 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 and is being investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office.