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Summary: Hearing 22
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.
Cross-examination of victims:
The cross-examination of Firuz Mehdiyev, the operations officer of the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who is one of the victims in the case, was resumed at today’s hearing.
Taleh Bagirzade asked Mehdiyev to describe his neutralisation of Abulfaz Bunyatov in more details. Mehdiyev said that when he tried to capture Abulfaz Bunyatov during the operation, the latter attempted to escape by resisting the operatives. Later, when neutralising Bunyatov, Mehdiyev saw that the former had been shot in the chest and was wounded. “In your statement, you have noted that Abulfaz Bunyatov was propelling the crowd in that process telling them that they needed to open fire. But now when I ask you a question, you say he was wounded and wanted to escape. Why then have you noted in your statement that he was steering the crowd? Isn’t there, by your logic, a contradiction between your first statement and the second,” Taleh Bagirzade asked.
In response, Mehdiyev said ‘we did not know who was who when we entered the yard.’
“Was a megaphone used in Nardaran,” Taleh Bagirzade asked next. “Maybe yes, maybe no; the first one to enter in was group leader Karim Alimardanov,” Mehdiyev replied.
Further on, defendant Agil Ismayilov said operations officer Firuz Mehdiyev had not taken part in the operation conducted in Nardaran on 26 November 2015. “I saw him at the MOCD. He threatened me and demanded me to admit that the weapon was mine,” Agil Ismayilov said.
Mehdiyev said it was not true.
Afterwards, the presiding judge asked for both parties’ opinions regarding lawyer Yalchin Imanov’s motion to have operations officer Ramil Salmanov undergo an out-patient forensic psychiatric examination. The defendants and defence lawyers requested the court to grant the motion. The public prosecutor, however, asked for the rejection of the motion, arguing that ‘victims are questioned for hours, many questions are asked, and hearings also continue for hours; in some situations, victims may not remember some details, which is natural, because a long time has passed since the incident happened’. The judge did not sustain the motion.
Police officer Mehman Teymurov took the stand next. His testimony was similar to those of the other witnesses. Teymurov said he had neutralised defendant Abbas Tagizade. He added that he had found a grenade and brass knuckles on Abbas Tagizade when apprehending him.
Abbas Tagizade’s lawyer reminded that his client had sustained numerous injuries, but Teymurov maintained that he had not inflicted any injury on Abbas Tagizade.
Teymurov also noted that he had not sustained any physical injury during the incident, but suffered moral damage.
The next hearing was set for October 5, 10.30am.