Police Officers Questioned at Religious Activists’ Trial

August 17th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 8
 Defendant Abbas Huseynov filed a motion to interrogate Minister of Internal Affairs Ramil Usubov in court as a witness. The motion was left undecided due to the absence of Abbas Huseynov’s lawyer from the hearing;
 Division Chief of the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, victim Elman Bayramov said that having received operational information on Taleh Bagirzade’s stay in Nardaran, meetings held in Abulfaz Bunyadov’s house and other issues, they went to Nardaran to carry out an operation;
 MOCD’s chief operations officer Islam Agabayov said that after everyone was neutralised, they inspected the house in the presence of witnesses and the weapons found in the house were packaged.

Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov, held a preliminary hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade, Jabrayilov Rasim Mirzababa oglu, Mustafayev Zakir Tapdig oglu, Jabbarov Jabbar Amirkhan oglu, Babakishizade Jahad Babahuseyn oglu, Abdulaliyev Shamil Adil oglu, Ismayilov Agil Azer oglu, Yariyev Ramin Maharram oglu, Guliyev Abbas Abdulrahman oglu, Khudaverdiyev Ibrahim Mammad oglu, Ismayilov Etibar Rasim oglu, Asgarov Bahruz Rahib oglu, Nuriyev Ali Hasrat oglu, Valiyev Alibala Javad oglu, Balayev Farhad Nasraddin oglu and Tagizade Abbas Hafiz oglu, who are charged under Articles 120.2.1 (homicide, committed by a group of people, a group of people on preliminary arrangement, an organised group or a criminal community/organization), 120.2.3 (homicide, of the victim or his close relatives in connection to performance of service or public duty by the victim), 120.2.4 (homicide, committed with special cruelty or in publicly dangerous way), 120.2.7 (homicide, of two or more persons), 120.2.12 (homicide, with the motive of national, racial, religious hatred or enmity), 29 (attempted crime), 214.2.1 (terrorism, committed by a group of people on preliminary arrangement, an organised group or a criminal community/organization), 28 (preparing to commit a crime), 214.2.3 (terrorism, committed with use of fire-arms or objects used as a weapon), 214-2 (open calls for terrorism), 220.2 (incitement to active insubordination to lawful demands of a representative of authority and to mass disorders, as well as to violence against citizens), 228.3 (illegal acquisition, transfer, selling, storage, transportation or carrying of fire-arms, their accessories, supplies and explosives, committed by an organised group), 228.4 (illegal acquisition, selling or carrying of a gas weapon, cold steel, as well as a throwing weapon, except for places where carrying of a cold steel is an accessory of a national suit or is connected to hunting), 278 (violent seizure or retention of power), 279 (creation of armed formations or groups not provided for by the legislation), 281.2 (public appeals directed against the state, committed repeatedly or by a group of people), 283.2.3 (instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility, committed by an organised group), and 315.2 (resistance to or use of violence against a representative of authority) of the Criminal Code, Huseynov Abbas Mammadbagir oglu, who is also charged under Article 233 (organization of actions violating public order or active participation in such actions) of the Criminal Code in addition to the above charges, and APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli, who 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. An armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku on November 26, 2015, 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 on the fact and is investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic. Fuad Gahramanli was arrested on December 8, 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.
Defendant’s motion:

Defendant Abbas Huseynov filed a motion to interrogate Minister of Internal Affairs Ramil Usubov in court as a witness: “The bandits who tortured us at the anti-gang unit (MOCD) were saying that the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was aware of everything. The head of state is also closely interested in this issue. Therefore, Ramil Usubov should come and tell us whether he was aware of the tortures inflicted. Where did they get the weapons, which they have foisted on us, from?”

The motion was left undecided due to the absence of Abbas Huseynov’s lawyer from the hearing.

Questioning of victims:

Division Chief of the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, victim Elman Bayramov was questioned. He identified himself as the chief of a confidential division of the MOCD. He stated that he had participated in the operation conducted in Nardaran on November 26 and was one of the officers who detained Taleh Bagirzade. “At 10.30am on November 26, an operational meeting was held under the guidance of Karim Alimardanov. Operational information had been received on Taleh Bagirzade’s stay in Nardaran, meetings held in Abulfaz Bunyadov’s house and other issues. At 12.45pm we arrived in Nardaran. We positioned ourselves for 15 minutes and started the operation at 1.00pm. There were about 20 officers from our department. Another 15 officers were perhaps from the security police. We went there in a special military truck. At first, two of our employees went in through the door, several others jumped over the fence. As soon as we entered in, the opposite side threw a grenade. I did not see the grenade be thrown, but heard an explosion. Then the shooting started,” Elman Bayramov said.
During cross-examination by lawyers, Elman Bayramov said they had not used a megaphone with the aim of warning. As an explanation, he said they did not want to cause uproar in the village. Furthermore, he said there had been no use of force or torture against those detained. “Taleh Bagirzade was in shock. He did not resist. We tied his hands and handed him over to the security police. At that point, we took Taleh’s computer from the room, as well,” Bayramov said.
Elman Bayramov said he had attended the interrogation of some detainees by the investigator.
Taleh Bagirzade said the allegation of the seizure of his computer was not true. “The case materials talks mainly about a tablet PC. I did not have a tablet at all. I had a laptop, which was not seized. I mean, the computer they are talking about has nothing to do with me.
A number of inconsistencies were revealed during the questioning of Elman Bayramov. According to him, the operation and the detention and transportation of people lasted for about 15 minutes. However, lawyer Yalchin Imanov pointed out that, according to the protocol, this process took about an hour.
Besides, Elman Bayramov said they had taken those wounded at the operation to the hospital. However, defendants Abdulaliyev Shamil, Asgarov Bahruz and Babakishizade Jahad, who were injured at that time, said they had first been taken to the medical centre in the settlement by villagers, from where they had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
One of the defendants, Rasim Jabrayilov said during the hearing that at the anti-gang unit Elman Bayramov had threatened to harm his family. “This is one of those persons who tortured me for refusing to sign the statement,” he said. Elman Bayramov said it was not true.

Another defendant, Abbas Guliyev also said Elman Bayramov was one of the persons who had tortured him. But Elman Bayramov denied it as well.

MOCD’s chief operations officer Islam Agabayov was interrogated next. He said he was familiar with Nardaran people’s characters and customs, as he had worked there before. “Therefore, I suggested that we wait till the end of the prayer. The opposite side threw a grenade and fired first, and after that we used weapons. After everyone was neutralised, we inspected the house in the presence of witnesses. The weapons found on them and in the house were packaged. We later learned that they had known that we would come. When I entered in, I took off my mask hoping that someone would recognise me and not shoot. I detained Rasim Bunyadov, whom I had known before. He did not resist when I detained him. I said ‘Haji, do you also stand up against this state?’ A grenade was found on him. He bore traces of injury. When asked, he said he had thrown himself on the floor during the shootout and sustained an injury. The persons detained there were not tortured. Nor did they resist me. I do not have information about them being tortured at the MOCD,” Islam Agabayov said.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov said it became clear from Islam Agabayov’s own words that during the inspection the defendants were not there. But they had them sign the protocol. The lawyer asked the witness to clarify this issue. Islam Agabayov could not explain this and said that he had neither drawn up a protocol nor had anyone sign it.
Defendant Fuad Gahramanli asked the witness what had induced them to carry out an armed assault on a house where repast of Imams was offered. Islam Agabayov replied that he was not aware of repast being given in the house.
Witness Islam Agabayov’s cross-examination was postponed until the next hearing, as the working hours of the court were over.

The next court hearing is scheduled for August 24, 10:30am.