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Summary: Hearing 24
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:
Hamza Zahidov, chief operations officer for particularly important cases of Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, testified at the hearing as a victim. “Acting upon the information received by the Department on Taleh Bagirzade and his supporters, we conducted an operation in the private house of Bunyatov Abulfaz Heybat oglu located in Nardaran. During the operation, we saw people armed with grenade, knife, dagger, nun-chucks and firearms inside the house. One of them was waving a knife. After an identity check, he was identified as Ramin Yariyev. A visual inspection showed that Ramin Yariyev had suffered bruises and abrasions to his forehead, nose, cheek and lip. From the right back pocket of the trousers he was wearing a hand grenade and a lighter was found and seized, and from the front right pocket a book containing Taleh Bagirzade’s address,” Hamza Zahidov said.
The defence lawyers asked Zahidov what injury or damage he had suffered. Zahidov replied that he had suffered moral damage.
Next, officer of Post Patrol Service unit of Sabunchu District Police Department Elmir Alasgarov testified as a victim. He said that while being on duty at the stadium during a football match between Garabagh FC and Monaco FC on 5 November 2015, they received information that a group of people had gathered in front of Sabunchu District Police Department and thereupon they left for the Department. At that time, he was also serving on duty at the stadium. Arriving in front of the Department, he saw a group of people calling for the release of Elchin Gasimov and they demanded them not to violate the public order. Alasgarov said the crowd was armed with wooden and iron sticks and stones. According to him, several police officers were injured during the confrontation. He said that he lost his handcuffs during the face-off.
Alasgarov noted that he did not know any of the defendants and did not have any complaint or claim against them.
The lawyers asked Alasgarov why he had been recognised as a victim in relation to the incident which had occurred in Nardaran. “They told me that I had to come and testify, and I came,” Alasgarov said.
Furthermore, the lawyers pointed out that although during his current testimony Alasgarov said that he had lost only his handcuffs during the incident, in his investigation statement he had noted that while being stuck inside the rioting mob in front of Sabunchu District Police Department on 5 November 2015 he lost one pair of handcuffs and one rubber baton, and one helmet visor and one protective shield of him were cracked by the rocks thrown at them and the strikes with iron sticks.
Thereafter, officer of Post Patrol Service unit of Sabunchu District Police Department Khagani Davidov testified as a victim. Davidov said that he had not suffered any injury during the incident that occurred in front of the police department on 5 November 2015 and that only his helmet visor was broken. He also said he did not know the defendants and had no complaint or claim against them.
Another officer of Post Patrol Service unit of Sabunchu District Police Department who testified as a victim was Yunis Mammadov. He said that he had not suffered any injury during the confrontation which happened in front of the police department on 5 November 2015. Mammadov noted that he did not know any of the defendants and had no complaint or claim against them.
In response to the lawyers’ question as to why then he had been recognised as a victim, Mammadov said ‘I have come because they told me to come and testify.’
The lawyers reminded Mammadov that in his investigation statement he had noted that while being stuck among the rioting crowd in front of Sabunchu District Police Department on 5 November 2015 he lost 2 pairs of handcuffs, 1 gas cylinder and 1 robber baton, and 1 helmet visor and 1 protective shield of him were cracked by the rocks thrown at them and the strikes with iron sticks.
Another officer from Post Patrol Service unit of Sabunchu District Police Department Shahin Abdullayev gave evidence as a victim next. He said he had sustained a knee injury during the incident which happened in front of the police department on 5 November 2015.
Abdullayev said he knew defendants Bahruz Asgarov and Abdullayev, and had treated them well at the police department.
After that, officer of Post Patrol Service unit of Sabunchu District Police Department, victim Khatai Mammadov testified. He also noted that he had not been injured during the incident that occurred in front of the police department on 5 November 2015, but his helmet visor was broken. He said he did not know the defendants and had no complaint or claim against them.
Then, the presiding judge Alovsat Abbasov said the court had received responses to the inquiries sent to the Main Organised Crime Department. He quoted the response letter as stating that there were no surveillance cameras in the yard of the Department.
According to the presiding judge, the response letter further read that the clothes which the defendants were wearing at the time of detention were later handed to the Serious Crimes Investigation Department (SCID) of the Prosecutor General’s Office, and it was requested to apply to the SCID for the clothes.
The next court hearing was set for October 10, 10.30am.