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Summary: Hearing 2 (January 12)
The public prosecutor read the indictment, naming the charges against each of the defendants;
Defendants Elshan Ismayilov, Jamal Mammadov and Arif Aliyev pleaded partially guilty to the charges, while defendants Samir Mustafayev and Kanan Madatov pleaded not guilty;
In his testimony, Elshan Ismayilov said the journalist Rasim Aliyev had insulted him and his family, and he had gone to the meeting point in order to punish Rasim Aliyev and physically assault him;
Another defendant, Jamal Mammadov testified that he did not know Rasim Aliyev and had merely accompanied his friend Elshan Ismayilov. Mammadov admitted that he had taken part in the beating of Rasim Aliyev.
On January 12, Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by judge Eldar Ismayilov, held a hearing on the murder of former IRFS chairman, journalist Rasim Aliyev, who died in the hospital after a brutal physical assault in August 2015.
As in the previous hearing, numerous media representatives and activists were unable to attend due to the size of the courtroom.
At the hearing, the judge inquired whether either of the parties had any motions to submit. As neither the victim’s legal heir nor the defendants had any motions, the judge announced the start of the judicial investigation and invited the public prosecutor to read out the indictment.
Announcement of indictment:
Public prosecutor Abisalam Heydarov read out the concluding section of the indictment,according to which the accused – Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov, Elshan Ismayilov, Samir Mustafayev, and Arif Aliyev – deliberately inflicted serious harm on Rasim Aliyev’s health by preliminary arrangement and caused Rasim Aliyev’s death through carelessness. Under the indictment, Kanan Madatov, Jamal Mammadov, and Samir Mustafayev are charged under Article 126.3 (deliberately causing serious harm to health resulting in death, while Elshan Ismayilov and Arif Aliyev are charged under Articles 126.3 and 177.1 (theft) of the Criminal Code.
After the announcement of the indictment, the defendants Elshan Ismayilov, Jamal Mammadov and Arif Aliyev pleaded partly guilty to the charges, while Kanan Madatov and Samir Mustafayev pleaded not guilty.
At the request of the prosecutor, the court decided to examine the evidence in the following order:
Testimonies of the accused;
Testimony of the victim’s legal heir;
Testimonies of witnesses;
Announcement and examination of the documents in the case file.
Testimony of defendant Elshan Ismayilov:
Defendant Elshan Ismayilov testified first. He said that he did not accept the charge of theft, as he had not stolen Rasim Aliyev’s wallet or any other item. Ismayilov pleaded guilty under Article 126 (deliberately causing serious harm to health resulting in death).
“I had come home from training and I saw my friend’s comment on a Facebook post about Javid Huseynov published by Rasim Aliyev. I had no prior knowledge of Rasim Aliyev. I commented under the post, saying that a person with Azerbaijani blood wouldn’t behave that way towards Javid Huseynov. He replied to me, “if you are also interested in the examination of my sperm, let’s go and have it examined together.” We argued and he asked for my phone number and sent his number to me in a Facebook message. As my phone had no credit, I went to a shop, topped it up and called him, but he cursed me and insulted my family. I cursed back.
He said, “if you want to meet, come to Bayil and let’s meet.” Before the meeting, I talked to Javid Huseynov and told him that a journalist had written a [critical] post about him and cursed me. He said it was nonsense and asked for Rasim’s number. After a while, Javid Huseynov called me back and said, “Rasim will apologize to you and then you two should end the conversation.” When Rasim did not call me, I called him again and suggested, “how about you apologize and we do not meet?” but he said he wouldn’t apologize, so I decided to meet with him. Javid Huseynov told me not to go, but I told him that I could not accept being cursed,” said Elshan Ismayilov.
According to Ismayilov, he did not know Samir Mustafayev personally, and they met in Bayil on the advice of his cousin Parviz. “Because Samir Mustafayev lives in Bayil, he was supposed to help us find the Bayil market. Samir was not my friend, but my cousin’s,” Ismayilov added.
“I called my friend Kanan Madatov to drive me to Bayil in his car. Kanan first said he was busy, but then he came. We went to Bayil together with Arif Aliyev and Jamal Mammadov. While we were in the car, I talked to my friends about Rasim Aliyev’s post on Javid Huseynov and how he had insulted me, and we looked at Rasim’s photo on his Facebook account. I did not tell them anything about my intention to assault him. We got to the meeting place and after some time, Rasim Aliyev arrived. Kanan Madatov and I greeted him and I asked why he had cursed me. Rasim Aliyev said, “I do as I please”, and I kicked him. I beat him together with Jamal Mammadov and Arif Aliyev. Kanan Madatov and Samir Mustafayev did not take part in the beating. Samir Mustafayev put his hand out to Rasim Aliyev and pulled him up, and Rasim ran away. Then we left.”
Elshan Ismayilov added that he did not coordinate his actions in advance with the other defendants, but his aim in going to the meeting was to punish Rasim Aliyev.
Then, lawyer for the victim’s legal heir, Asabali Mustafayev, cross-examined Elshan Ismayilov. When asked whether Rasim Aliyev’s Facebook post on Javid Huseynov contained insults or criticism, Elshan Ismayilov answered that the words “immoral” and “ill-bread” are insults. In response to Asabali Mustafayev’s question, “Was your accusing him of not being Azerbaijani an insult?”, Ismayilov said no. Replying to the lawyer’s question, “How did it happen that Rasim Aliyev cursed you?” Elshan Ismayilov said that Rasim Aliyev had cursed him for no reason. “I went to meet him not for his post about Javid, but for what he said to me, because I could not accept abusive words about my mother and sister,” said Ismayilov.
Judge Alisultan Osmanov asked why Elshan Ismayilov had not gone to the police if he believed that he was a victim. Elshan Ismayilov said that he could have done so, but had decided to solve it this way instead.
Testimony by Defendant Jamal Mammadov
Jamal Mammadov testified he considers himself partly guilty.
“I was already acquainted with Elshan Ismayilov. We used to play for the same football teams. The apartment I rent is near Elshan’s. On the day of the incident, I had come home from training and was resting. I was hungry and went out to buy doner kebab. On my way back, I saw Elshan Ismayilov. We greeted and talked. Elshan said a guy had insulted Javid and cursed him and that he was going to meet him. I told Elshan not to go alone, as anything could happen. I suggested that I go with him. I also saw Arif Aliyev with Elshan. Then, Kanan Madatov arrived in his car and we went to Bayil. We already knew Kanan Madatov. On the way, Kanan asked me what was going on. As I was not fully aware of the situation, I said I did not know. We first approached the wrong person and asked if he was Rasim Aliyev. But we were mistaken. I do not know Samir Mustafayev. He is a friend of Elshan’s cousin. I had seen Rasim Aliyev’s photo on Facebook. While we were in front of Bayil Market, I saw Rasim Aliyev arriving in his car and I told Elshan that Rasim Aliyev had arrived. We were standing aside; Kanan and Elshan approached him. After greeting, Elshan kicked Rasim Aliyev. I did not hear what they were saying, because I was standing aside. I kicked Rasim Aliyev several times. And then we ran away together with our guys,” said Jamal Mammadov in his testimony.
When asked by the judge if he was sorry for what he had done, Jamal Mammadov said he was sorry and he never knew Rasim Aliyev would die from the assault.
Jamal Mammadov said that the statement he had provided to officials had been written by the investigator, and that he did not agree with some of what it contained.
The next hearing will be held on January 14, at 10.30am.