Public Prosecutor Requests Life Sentence for Theologian Taleh Bagirzade

December 26th, 2016

taleh-bagirzade

Summary: Hearing 47

  • • The leader of Muslim Union Movement, Taleh Bagirzade was arrested in November 2015 together with 17 other men during a raid by police on a house in the village of Nardaran, located 25 km away of Baku, where they were attending prayers.
  • • They have been standing trial since 4 August in Baku’s Court for Serious Crimes. The charges include murder, terrorism, inciting religious hatred, organising mass unrest, and illegal possession of weapons.
  • • All of them deny charges; several claim they have been subjected to torture.
  • • Taleh Bagirzade, who studied theology abroad, has been extremebly critical of the ruling regime, for example, he denounced President Ilham Aliyev as a “zalim” or despot.
  • • Azerbaijan Popular Front Party Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli, who was not present during the incident, was apprehended on 8 December 2015. His case was merged with the criminal case of the individuals arrested over the Nardaran incidents. Gahramanli’s barrister Yalchin Imanov argues thathe was arrested due to comments had left on Facebook in connection with security operations launched by the government in November 2015 in Nardaran. In his comments on Facebook, Fuad Gahramanli called on Muslims not to abandon the arrested Muslim Unity leader and to continue protests and struggle. Gahramanli compared Azerbaijan’s government to yezids (corrupt tyrants).
  • • The public prosecutor asked the court to sentence Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade to life term, Abbas Huseynov to 20 years, Jabbar Jabbarov to 19 years, Rasim Jabrayilov to 17 years, APFP deputy chairman Fuad Gahramanli to 11 years, and each of the remaining twelve defendants to 15 years in jail.

On 26 December, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov held another hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade and his co-defendants.

Before the start of the hearing, Bagirzade turned to the people, who had come to watch the hearing, and said, “Please, do not cry no matter what sentence the prosecutor requests. Keep your heads up in front of people like this. Be strong. I personally expect a life sentence for myself. If there were a more severe sentence, like execution, the government of Azerbaijan would see how the true men walk merrily to the scaffold. If we want to save our people from this tyrannical regime, we should be able to make a sacrifice,” Bagirzade noted.    

Afterwards, the hearing commenced and the public prosecutor made a speech. Referring only to the testimonies of the employees of Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) among all the evidence examined in court, the prosecutor said the defendants’ guilt was proven. He said the defendants’ claims that they had been subjected to torture during their arrest and later at MOCD did not prove correct.

The public prosecutor asked the court to sentence Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade to life term, Abbas Huseynov to 20 years, Jabbar Jabbarov to 19 years, Rasim Jabrayilov to 17 years, APFP deputy chairman Fuad Gahramanli to 11 years, and each of the remaining twelve defendants – Zakir Mustafayev, Farhad Balayev, Shamil Abdulaliyev, Agil Ismayilov, Abbas Guliyev, Ibrahim Khudaverdiyev, Abbas Tagizade, Jahad Babakishizade, Etibar Ismayilov, Bahruz Guliyev, Alibala Valiyev and Ali Nuriyev – to 15 years in jail.

Considering that defendant Ramin Yariyev was still a minor when arrested, the public prosecutor asked for a 10-year prison sentence, a shorter jail sentence permitted by law, for him.

The defendants’ lawyers asked the court to give them time to prepare for the defence speech.

The next court hearing was set for 9 January 2017, 10.30 am.