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➢ Officers of the Post Patrol Service Section of Sabunchu District Police Department, Yunis Mammadov, Khagani Davidov and Elmir Alasgarov testified in court as victims in the case;
➢ Aghaali Yahyayev: I could not finish my question. They punched me in the jaw.
On 10 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Mayil Bayramov held another hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade’s deputy Elchin Gasimov and his 11 co-defendants – Nahid Gahramanov, Aghaali Yahyayev, Seyfaddin Shirvanov, Farhad Muradov, Ramil Aliyev, Elgun Akhundov, Vusal Alishov, Isa Ibrahimov, Seymur Aslanov, Ali Shahbazov and Amirali Aliyev.
Officers of the Post Patrol Service Section of Sabunchu District Police Department testified at the hearing as victims.
Yunis Mammadov testified that while policing a football match in Tofig Bahramov Stadium on 5 November 2015, they wereinformed of a raid on Sabunchu District Police Department and were called to the Department. Arriving in front of the Department, they saw 100 to 150 people, who were reportedly demanding the release of Elchin Gasimov. Mammadov said they detained some of the shouters and surrendered them to the officers of the Department. He added that during the disturbance, he lost one pair of handcuffs and one rubber batonand rocks thrown by the crowd cracked his helmet and protective shield, but he was not injured.
Elchin Gasimov’s lawyer asked the victim whom his lost handcuffs and baton and damaged helmet and shield belonged to. “They belong to the state,” Mammadov replied. “If they belong to the state, then how come he is a victim,” the lawyer asked pointing to Yunis Mammadov.
Elchin Gasimov was disgruntled by the judge’s ruling out his question to the victim as to what the latter meant by a raid. “During investigation, they kept asking me what I meant by fighting oppression. Why then did they ask me that question,” the defendant remarked.
The witness assessed the stoning of the police department as a raid. “You could call it a raid if they broke in the department and hindered the work of the employees. People came to learn why I was detained, but they detained and tortured them,” Gasimov said.
The judge turned towards the witness and asked him not to answer the question as he had ruled it out. “Are you leading a trial or a spectacle? You act like a lawyer of the victim. You made it clear that all of you have been instructed by one and the same person. Half an hour after taking me to the Police Department and torturing me, they unleashed Baku City Garrison in front of the Department. This victim says there were 40 officers there. No way 40! The entire garrison was there,” Gasimov said expressing his objection.
“They came later,” the victim answered. “But they came, didn’t they,” Gasimov said. This time Mammadov said ‘No, they did not’. “You just said they came later. Your words decide your own fate, not ours. You should pity yourself, not us. Don’t you dare to say why they have summoned you here? I had many questions to ask to the victim, but I will ask no more questions because it is the judge who is responding in his place,” Gasimov said.
Next, police officer Khagani Davidov gave a similar testimony as Mammadov. He said he lost one pair of handcuffs and one rubber baton among the rioting crowd in front of Sabunchu District Police Department on 5 November 2015, and his helmet and protective shield were cracked by the rocks thrown at them.
Police officer Elmir Alasgarov, another victim in the case, also testified that during the incident, he lost one pair of handcuffs and one rubber baton and his helmet and protective shield were cracked by the rocks hurled at them.
Defendant Aghaali Yahyayev said he was in front of the police department on 5 November 2015, but none of the people gathered there threw stones at the police department or officers. “There were no rocks, how could we throw? I went up and asked the policemen why they had detained Elchin Gasimov. I could not even finish my question. They punched me in the jaw and dragged me inside the department. Later, they brought other brothers, too. We were not shown as much respect as a rug, there. They were walking on our faces, calling us Armenians and insulting us. They hit me in the eye so hard that it swelled. I suffer from an eye problem since then, and wear glasses,” Yahyayev said.
The next hearing was set for 17 March, 2pm.
Background: Muslim Union Movement deputy chairman Elchin Gasimov was arrested on 5 November 2015. He was initially charged under Article 310 (wilful disobedience to lawful requirements of a police officer) of the Administrative Violations Code and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Afterwards, a criminal case was initiated against him and he was arrested. He and his co-defendants were charged with terrorism; incitement to terrorism; incitement to active disobedience to lawful demands of the representative of authority, riots and violence against citizens; illegal acquisition, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of firearms, accessories and ammunition as an organised group; violent seizure or retention of power; formation of armed groups not provided for in the legislation; making open appeals against the state; instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility as an organised group; forgery, illegal production and selling of official documents, state awards, seals, stamps and forms, or knowing use of fake documents; hooliganism; and, resistance or use of violence against the representative of authority.
Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade was arrested during an operation conducted in Nardaran on 26 November 2015. Bagirzade stood trial in Baku Grave Crimes Court along with 17 other men including APFP deputy chairman Fuad Gahramanli. On 25 January, the Court sentenced Bagirzade to 20 years, Gahramanli to 10 years, and others to between 10 and 20 years in jail.