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➢ The documents in the case file were examined;
➢ The judicial investigation was completed, and the judge announced the start of the courtroom speeches.
On 19 April, Garadag District Court chaired by Judge Rashad Mustafayev held another hearing on the criminal case of former health minister Ali Insanov.
Once again, a small number of journalists were granted access to the hearing. Half of the courtroom, where the hearing was held, had been filled with furniture. The only eight available seats were taken by four journalists, two members of the public, one victim and one prison escort who accompanied the defendant. There were four bailiffs and three prison escorts in the courtroom. Numerous journalists and members of the public were denied access to the proceedings.
At the hearing, the court examined the documents in the case file. Defendant Ali Insanov said unlike all other agencies, which prepared their case plans at the beginning of the year, the Penitentiary Service had drawn up its case plan in July. He went on to say that since the case was politically motivated, the case plan was also fabricated. The judge noted that case plans were prepared quarterly. “The judge should not express an opinion on a matter. We will factor this in,” said Ali Insanov’s lawyer Agaveyis Shahverdi objecting to the judge’s intervention.
Ali Insanov said the announced documents did not contain a note on the shelf life of the drugs. “They would have noted it if the shelf life had expired,” the judge said. This time, Ali Insanov’s other lawyer Togrul Babayev objected to the judge’s intervention.
Referring to the announced documents, Ali Insanov said the expert opinion described the allegedly found medications as white and blue in colour and quoted the victim as saying in court that the medications were blue and red. “How about the red colour mentioned by the victim? He came and reproduced a text which he had been made to memorise. Psychotropic medications are never coloured,” Insanov remarked.
Lawyer Togrul Babayev asked victim Anar Mammadov when he had given his statement. The latter said he had given a statement first in the prison and then in the prosecutor’s office two days after the incident. Mammadov said he had been taken from the hospital to the prosecutor’s office to provide the statement. The lawyer asked the victim how he had gone to the prosecutor’s office given that he had sustained a serious craniocerebral trauma. “I am telling you that I went. A craniocerebral injury does not mean I had no hands or feet,” the victim responded angrily.
“I have no question to ask the victim because everything is clear. A patient, who has stayed in bed for 35 days, does not have any computer tomography image because he did not sustain any injury. How was a person, supposed to stay in the hospital for 35 days, taken to the prosecutor’s office? If he had sustained a serious injury, specifically a craniocerebral trauma, he should have stayed in bed. We are not in Africa or in the woods, after all. Why did he give a statement without being examined first? Is it because he feared that it would reveal the fact that he had not sustained a trauma? Then what are you accusing me of,” Insanov asked.
The defendant added that the glass medicine bottles had not been examined. “Together with my lawyers, we repeatedly demanded that an examination be conducted to determine whether there are my handprints on those medicine bottles. However, they did not [examine them]. It should not matter whether or not I was caught preparing medicines. On both occasions, a fingerprint analysis should have been done,” the former minister said.
Lawyer Agaveyis Shahverdi further noted that the protocol allegedly torn by Ali Insanov was also missing in the case file. The judge replied that the protocol was retained as material evidence.
Agaveyis Shahverdi lodged a motion to exclude the search and seizure protocol and act, the confrontation protocol, and the opinion on the results of forensic chemical examination from the evidence list. The lawyer substantiated his motion by saying ‘They did not invite Ali Insanov or his lawyers when inspecting the room and the items. Ali Insanov never gave a statement during the investigation. One cannot call a non-existent statement as conflicting with the victim’s statement. In such a case, the investigative action of confrontation should not be conducted. According to the results of the forensic chemical examination, fibres of Anar Mammadov’s clothes were found on Ali Insanov’s clothes sent from home. But this is an absurdity, because those clothes had recently been sent from home and Ali Insanov had not even worn them’. The lawyer called the above-mentioned documents unreliable and requested that they be removed from the evidence list.
Having returned after a 15-minute deliberation, the judge said the motion was not granted.
Lawyer Agaveyis Shahverdi filed a motion to conduct a repeat examination, arguing that the expert had not rendered an objective opinion. The lawyer requested that the examination determines whether it could be possible that victim Anar Mammadov himself had torn his shirt and shoulder strap. Ali Insanov said the top corner of Anar Mammadov’s pocket was folded when he came to the prison. “At first, I suspected he had a voice recorder in his pocket. But then the issue became clear. I understood that he had come ready to later blame it on me that I had torn his pocket,” Insanov said.
Ali Insanov filed a verbal motion to conduct a forensic medical examination to determine whether the victim had been conscious after having allegedly sustained a serious injury and whether the alleged injury had resulted in any complications. This motion was also denied.
The judge said the judicial investigation was completed and the stage of courtroom speeches started.
At the next hearing, which is scheduled for 26 April, 2.30 pm, public prosecutor Farahim Huseynli is expected to seek a sentence for defendant Ali Insanov.
Background: Jailed since 2005, former health minister Ali Insanov faced new criminal charges in October 2016, which came just 58 days shy of the expiry of his jail term. According to the allegations, the former minister has been found in possession of a medication with psychotropic ingredients and has beaten a prison officer.
He has been charged under Articles 234.1 (illegal purchase or possession of narcotics or psychotropic substances in a quantity exceeding personal consumption limits, without the intent to sell), 315.2 (resistance, involving use of force not dangerous to life or health, against a representative of authority performing his official duties) and 317-2.1 (preparation, storage, carrying, transportation or use of prohibited items by a person held in prisons or detention centres – where the same acts are committed repeatedly) of the Criminal Code.
The former minister does not accept the charges and maintains that he has been framed under the government’s instructions in order to be kept in jail.
Ali Insanov was arrested on charges of a coup attempt on 19 October 2005. But later, he stood trial on charges related to economic offences and was sentenced to 11 years in jail. The complaint submitted to the European Court in connection with this case was granted in 2013. The decision took effect on 14 June 2013. The Plenum of the Supreme Court considered the European Human Rights Court’s (EHRC) decision regarding Ali Insanov. According to the Plenum’s decision, the Appeal and Supreme Courts’ decisions on Ali Insanov were revoked, while the decision of the lower court was not changed and Insanov was not released. The case was referred to Baku Court of Appeal for reconsideration, but the court upheld the judgment.