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> Officers of Post Patrol Service Division of Sabunchu District Police Department testified at the hearing as victims in the case;
> Defendant Vusal Alish said he would complain to the Supreme Court over the fact that the judge did not give the defendants chances to ask questions to the victims.
On 31 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Mayil Bayramov held another hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade’s deputy Elchin Gasimov and his 11 co-defendants – Nahid Gahramanov, Aghaali Yahyayev, Seyfaddin Shirvanov, Farhad Muradov, Ramil Aliyev, Elgun Akhundov, Vusal Alishov, Isa Ibrahimov, Seymur Aslanov, Ali Shahbazov and Amirali Aliyev.
Officers of Post Patrol Service Division of Sabunchu District Police Department testified at the hearing as victims in the case.
Police officer Ramil Alakbarov took an oath, to tell the truth before testifying. Defendant Elchin Gasimov asked the officer who he was swearing on. Answering the question, presiding judge Mayil Bayramov said ‘Witnesses and victims swear, to tell the truth before giving testimony. This is not the kind of an oath you know. They swear on the law’.
Ramil Alakbarov testified that they were at a football event on 5 November 2015, when they received an order to go to the front of Sabunchu District Police Department. The officer noted that as they arrived in the Police Department, the crowd that had gathered there began throwing stones at them. “We defended ourselves. The police do not fear anything. But I was alarmed during the incident and lost my handcuffs, my communication device was broken by an impact of a stone, and my helmet and shield were cracked,” the officer said.
Alakbarov could not respond to the lawyers’ question on whether he had suffered any material damage during the incident. Judge Mayil Bayramov said the victim did not understand the word ‘material damage’.
Alakbarov said he had been hit on the head by a stone and suffered psychological damage. He denied knowing any of the defendants. “If you do not know us and have not suffered damage, why have you come here? How much have you paid to get your job,” Elchin Gasimov asked the victim but was interrupted by the judge.
Police officer Khayyam Jamalov said he was injured by a stone during the incident. When defendant Isa Shukurov wanted to ask him a question, Jamalov told the defendant that he should address him by saying ‘mister captain’. The defendants objected to this. Judge Mayil Bayramov interrupted Shukurov and did not let him ask his question. Victim Jamalov was removed from the courtroom. “Everyone saw the police captain’s behaviour. You can now imagine how they treated us in the police department. They are a stain on the name of police. They have pocketed people’s money and grown into a man. He has bought his captaincy for money,” defendant Elchin Gasimov said.
Defendant Isa Shukurov said they were not shown as much respect as Armenians enjoyed. “The other day I saw Lapshin in the detention centre. They let him walk in the yard of Baku Detention Centre. They do not show us the same respect, but provide all conditions for pro-Armenian Lapshin,” the defendant noted.
Defendant Vusal Alish said he would complain to the Supreme Court over the fact that the judge did not give the defendants chances to ask questions to the victims.
Police officer Yagub Abbasli gave a testimony similar to that of his colleagues. He said he had lost his gas cylinder during the incident. “Can you put your hand on your conscience in front of your parents and say whether you have done the right thing,” defendant Ramil Aliyev asked the officer. Abbasli said ‘yes’. “This hearing is as public as it gets. But you should not insult anyone or violate their rights. Your rights are also protected,” the judge said at this point. Reacting to the judge’s words, defendant Elchin Gasimov said ‘I wish the hearing were held behind closed doors and the people that have arranged this charade did not disgrace themselves this much. I want our country to develop. There are so many prisoners of conscience behind bars…” Judge Mayil Bayramov once again interrupted the defendant.
The next hearing was set for 7 April, 2 pm.
Background: Muslim Union Movement deputy chairman Elchin Gasimov was arrested on 5 November 2015. He was initially charged under Article 310 (wilful disobedience to lawful requirements of a police officer) of the Administrative Violations Code and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Afterwards, a criminal case was initiated against him and he was arrested. He and his co-defendants were charged with terrorism; incitement to terrorism; incitement to active disobedience to lawful demands of the representative of authority, riots and violence against citizens; illegal acquisition, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of firearms, accessories and ammunition as an organised group; violent seizure or retention of power; formation of armed groups not provided for in the legislation; making open appeals against the state; instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility as an organised group; forgery, illegal production and selling of official documents, state awards, seals, stamps and forms, or knowing use of fake documents; hooliganism; and, resistance or use of violence against the representative of authority.
Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade was arrested during an operation conducted in Nardaran on 26 November 2015. Bagirzade stood trial in Baku Grave Crimes Court along with 17 other men including APFP deputy chairman Fuad Gahramanli. On 25 January, the Court sentenced Bagirzade to 20 years, Gahramanli to 10 years, and others to between 10 and 20 years in jail.