Religious Activists Continue Giving Accounts of Torture at Their Trial

August 17th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 7

 Defendant Alibala Valiyev testified about being tortured after his detention;
 Defendant Jabbar Jabbarov also asserted that he had been tortured after detention;
 Lawyer Nemat Karimli filed a motion to send a request to the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) and require that it submits the clothes, which the defendants were wearing at the time of detention, and MOCD’s security camera footage from 26 November 2016 and the following days. The motion was granted;
 Defendants Taleh Bagirov, Abbas Huseynov and Agil Ismayilov said they wanted to make additions to their testimonies and gave a more detailed account of the tortures they had been exposed to.

Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov, held a preliminary hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade, Jabrayilov Rasim Mirzababa oglu, Mustafayev Zakir Tapdig oglu, Jabbarov Jabbar Amirkhan oglu, Babakishizade Jahad Babahuseyn oglu, Abdulaliyev Shamil Adil oglu, Ismayilov Agil Azer oglu, Yariyev Ramin Maharram oglu, Guliyev Abbas Abdulrahman oglu, Khudaverdiyev Ibrahim Mammad oglu, Ismayilov Etibar Rasim oglu, Asgarov Bahruz Rahib oglu, Nuriyev Ali Hasrat oglu, Valiyev Alibala Javad oglu, Balayev Farhad Nasraddin oglu and Tagizade Abbas Hafiz oglu, who are charged under Articles 120.2.1 (homicide, committed by a group of people, a group of people on preliminary arrangement, an organised group or a criminal community/organization), 120.2.3 (homicide, of the victim or his close relatives in connection to performance of service or public duty by the victim), 120.2.4 (homicide, committed with special cruelty or in publicly dangerous way), 120.2.7 (homicide, of two or more persons), 120.2.12 (homicide, with the motive of national, racial, religious hatred or enmity), 29 (attempted crime), 214.2.1 (terrorism, committed by a group of people on preliminary arrangement, an organised group or a criminal community/organization), 28 (preparing to commit a crime), 214.2.3 (terrorism, committed with use of fire-arms or objects used as a weapon), 214-2 (open calls for terrorism), 220.2 (incitement to active insubordination to lawful demands of a representative of authority and to mass disorders, as well as to violence against citizens), 228.3 (illegal acquisition, transfer, selling, storage, transportation or carrying of fire-arms, their accessories, supplies and explosives, committed by an organised group), 228.4 (illegal acquisition, selling or carrying of a gas weapon, cold steel, as well as a throwing weapon, except for places where carrying of a cold steel is an accessory of a national suit or is connected to hunting), 278 (violent seizure or retention of power), 279 (creation of armed formations or groups not provided for by the legislation), 281.2 (public appeals directed against the state, committed repeatedly or by a group of people), 283.2.3 (instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility, committed by an organised group), and 315.2 (resistance to or use of violence against a representative of authority) of the Criminal Code, Huseynov Abbas Mammadbagir oglu, who is also charged under Article 233 (organization of actions violating public order or active participation in such actions) of the Criminal Code in addition to the above charges, and APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli, who 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. An armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku on November 26, 2015, 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 on the fact and is investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic. Fuad Gahramanli was arrested on December 8, 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.

Defendants’ testimonies:

At today’s hearing, defendant Alibala Valiyev gave evidence: “None of what is written in the indictment is correct. I signed the statements under degrading torture. They brought me from Kurdakhani back to the anti-gang unit (Main Organised Crime Department) and held me there for one week. During this time they prepared me and then took me to Nardaran where they conducted filming. I only repeated what they had told me to say against Taleh and Abbas. It is a humiliation of honour and dignity. They detained all of us and took us to the anti-gang unit in a furniture truck. They subjected us to severe torture both on the way and at the anti-gang unit. My left index finger was broken in the yard of the anti-gang unit. During the investigation, they assigned me a lawyer, whom I did not really need. He used to come, sign the documents given by the investigator and go,” Alibala Valiyev said.

Defendant Jabbar Jabbarov testified next. “In this country there is no one whom they are afraid of. Whoever’s name I mentioned, they swore at them. I wrote a letter about it to the President from Kurdakhani. They did not post my letter. Therefore, I turn to the President from here. They laid us down on the floor with our hands cuffed, and trampled on our genitals. They tried to extract testimonies from us through this kind of immoral ways. Because of the tortures, I cut my veins. They told me ‘do not play-act here, either you sign or you die.’ One of them even cited those arrested in connection with the Oil Academy incident as an example, saying ‘did you see how we nicked them all, from the door guard to the burger seller?’ They tried to extract the statements that they required through torture in order to cover up their filthy deeds. Hereby, the police want to clean Vugar’s and Ismayil’s blood off their hands. The guns they have foisted on us in the statements serve this purpose. I particularly want to tell the families of the officers who lost their lives in that incident that it is they (their colleagues) who killed them. We did not have any weapons. They had come there with a pre-arranged wicked operation plan; to kill their officers, foist the guns on us, and then portray us as terrorists. They have written that Ramin Yariyev had a grenade in the rear pocket of his jeans. Can a grenade fit into a rear pocket of a pair of jeans? The armed police raid on the house and the operation of apprehending us all took only 5-6 minutes. I went out as soon as I heard a gun fire and saw Akbar had fallen off the chair and died. Rafael also lay on the ground dead. Sarvan was alive but wounded. Having seen this, I came back in or they would have shot me, too. They killed Farahim in the furniture truck by hitting him in the temple with the butt of a gun. But they have written in the criminal case materials that they allegedly shot him twice for his armed resistance to the police. When we were being transported, the deceased Rafael’s and Akbar’s bodies were also in the truck. They were so vicious that they trod on the corpses and kicked them. I heard that during the Khojali tragedy, Armenians committed violence against the corpses of our deceased. These [officers] behaved the same way. On the way, they handed over Akbar’s and Rafael’s corpses to the morgue, but withheld Farahim’s body. From the first day of my arrest, they were forcing me to testify that we were Iranian agents and were financed by Iran. A few days later, this issue was closed,” Jabbar Jabbarov said.

Following this, the presiding judge announced the completion of the defendant interrogation phase.

Lawyer’s motion:

Lawyer Nemat Karimli filed a motion to send a request to the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) and require that it submits the clothes, which the defendants were wearing at the time of detention, and MOCD’s security camera footage from 26 November 2016 and the following days.

In substation of the motion, the lawyer factored in the defendants’ accounts of being subjected to torture and their clothes being ripped to shreds at the time of detention because of which they ‘were dressed new clothes when being taken to the court’.

The court made a brief deliberation on the bench and granted the motion. The presiding judge said the court would send a request to the Department and ask what had become of the clothes and also request the camera recordings if they still remained.

The next hearing was set for August 18, 10.30am.