Summary: Hearing 21
- Operations officer of Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) Ramil Salmanov testified as a victim. Describing the operation conducted in Nardaran, Salmanov said the defendants had resisted them by throwing a grenade and shooting bullets;
- Lawyer Yalchin Imanov told the court that they had been called to the Bar Association after the judge had reported the defence lawyers. He requested copies of hearing transcripts, which he believed misrepresented his statements, and the judge’s complaint letter. The judge said the transcripts were not yet ready and also referred the lawyer to the Bar for a copy of the complaint;
- Next, operations officer of Main Organised Crime Department Firuz Mehdiyev testified as a victim. He provided a similar testimony as Salmanov. He said that he had neutralised Abulfaz Bunyatov, who hosted the armed group’s gathering in his house.
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.
Defendant Abbas Huseynov, who had been removed from the courtroom during the previous hearing, was brought in at this hearing. The presiding judge said the court had received a request from Abbas Huseynov. “I once again warn you. You must not break the rules in court. If you want to object to something, you can apply to the court through your lawyers and in the manner prescribed by law,” the judge said.
Abbas Huseynov said he had not violated the rules. “I have not breached the rules. I objected to the guiding questions asked to the police officers testifying as victims. We have suffered so many injuries that we cannot accept these easily,” the defendant said.
Then, operations officer of Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Ramil Salmanov testified at the hearing as a victim in the case. “The Main Department received information that Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade created an armed gang in order to seize the state power and to change the state’s constitutional system by force. An operational meeting was held at 11 pm. An operation team was formed. Then we left for Nardaran. We took operational positions. After making sure that Taleh Bagirzade and his supporters were in the house to the left of the entrance of the yard, the operational team members entered the yard at around 1 pm. Upon entry, the operational team members came under fire. Despite several warnings, those persons did not stop shooting. A grenade went off. Operational team members Vugar Nasibov and Ismayil Tagiyev were wounded by the grenade, as they were ahead. When we went into the yard, there were people with grenade, knife, dagger, nun-chucks and fire-arms in the houses to our left and right. Some two of the people who were in the yard jumped over the fence and ran away. One of them, later identified as Jahad Babakishizade, was waving nun-chucks and had a grenade in the other hand. I neutralised him and seized the grenade. All members of the gang were neutralised. After that, the attesting witnesses were invited to the scene. An inspection was conducted. Jahad Babakishizade was found to have suffered injuries to the left half of his chest. The nun-chucks that he had in his left hand and the grenade and lighter in his right hand were seized, packed and sealed,” Salmanov said.
“What vehicle had you arrived in,” lawyer Fariz Namazli asked to Salmanov. “I cannot say, it is confidential,” the latter responded. The answer drew an objection from the lawyer. “If everything is confidential, then why are we cross-examining you,” he asked. The presiding judge said the vehicle was not confidential. After that, Salmanov said it was a special operation vehicle.
Next, lawyer Javad Javadov asked Salmanov what sound the grenade had made when detonating. “The sound of a detonating grenade; what an odd question,” Salmanov retorted. In turn, the lawyer said Salmanov failed to answer what sound had come from the grenade.
The lawyer also quoted Salmanov as saying that although the grenade went off when ten police officers entered the yard, only two of them received shrapnel wounds.
Answering the lawyer’s question on how the wounded police officers had passed away, Salmanov said he had not seen how the officers died. In response to lawyer Abil Bayramov’s question about what damage he had suffered, Salmanov said moral damage as he could have died and his colleagues lost their lives.
Lawyer Nemat Karimli wanted to file a motion for forensic psychiatric examination of Salmanov, but the judge said the motion could be filed after the cross-examination was over. The lawyer objected, reminding that according to the legislation a motion can be filed at any time. The lawyer reiterated that he did not allow the lawyer to lodge a motion before the end of the cross-examination.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov asked Salmanov what section of MOCD he was the employee of. The latter said the division on the fight against cyber crime. The lawyer asked on what grounds an employee of a different division had been involved in the operation. Salmanov replied that he had been invited to the consultation meeting and thus taken part.
Taleh Bagirzade asked why they had not demanded him to surrender by using a megaphone and had not conducted the filming of the operation. Salmanov replied that those questions had been decided by the persons in charge of the operation.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov requested that Ramil Salmanov undergo examination. He said he was suspicious of Salmanov’s mental ability to understand and perceive events. The judge did not discuss the motion.
Imanov further noted that he, along with lawyers Javad Javadov and Fariz Namazli, had been invited to come to the Bar on September 30. He asked for copies of the transcripts from the hearings held on September 22 and 23, as the judge had filed a complaint with the Bar against the lawyers in connection with those hearings. He also requested a copy of the letter sent to the Bar. “It is essentially an act of pressure and is unfounded. You do not want to allow for effective attorneyship at this trial. You want us, lawyers, to behave like those who participated in the investigation: to be present when the defendants are beaten and to travel in prison vans. But we will not be like this. We have acted in accordance with the requests of our clients. I want the transcripts from the dates that I mentioned, because I believe that my words have been distorted in those transcripts,” the lawyer said.
The judge said the transcripts were not yet ready and the lawyers would be familiarised with them when they were available. “According to the law, the transcript of a court hearing should be ready within three days after the hearing. Five days have passed already,” the lawyer responded.
The judge repeated that the transcripts were not ready. He added that he had not filed a complaint, but informed the chairman of the Bar. The judge advised the lawyer to get acquainted with a copy of the complaint at the Bar.
Thereafter, operations officer of Main Organised Crime Department Firuz Mehdiyev testified as a victim. He provided a similar testimony as Salmanov. He said that he had neutralised Abulfaz Bunyatov, in whose house the group had gathered.
Lawyer Yalchin Imanov asked Mehdiyev about Abulfaz Bunyatov’s injuries. The witness said he did not know about the injuries.
Mehdiyev also said he had not sustained any injuries, but suffered moral damage.
The presiding judge scheduled the next hearing for September 30, 10am.