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Summary: Hearing #3
On 13 January, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Mayil Bayramov (lay judges Samir Aliyev and Rahib Salmanov) held a hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement chairman Taleh Bagirzade’s, deputy Elchin Gasimov, and his 11 co-defendants – Nahid Gahramanov, Agaali Yahyayev, Seyfaddin Shirvanov, Farhad Muradov, Ramil Aliyev, Elgun Akhundov, Vusal Alishov, Isa Ibrahimov, Seymur Aslanov, Ali Shahbazov and Amirali Aliyev.
Defendant Vusal Alish raised an objection against the presiding judge Mayil Bayramov, by arguing that according to the information he had obtained through research, Judge Bayramov had issued unjust decisions and acted with prejudice previously. The objection was considered by members of the panel, the judges Rahim Salmanov and Samir Aliyev, but was left undecided as ‘lacking any grounds’.
Public prosecutor Anar Aliyev announced the conclusion of the indictment bill. According to the indictment, Muslim Union Movement (MUM) deputy chairman Elchin Gasimov, MUM chief financial officer Nahid Gahramanov, MUM coordinator for Baku city Elgun Akhundov, MUM deputy director for science and culture Vusal Alishov, MUM coordinator for networks Seyfaddin Shirvanov, MUM coordinator for southern region Isa Ibrahimov, head of the department of theology of MUM Farhad Muradov, MUM department head Ramil Aliyev, and head of the department of physical education and sport of MUM Elkhan Isgandarov were accused of forcibly changing the constitutional system of the state, gathering supporters and equipping themselves with weapons with the purpose of plotting a coup, terrorism, resisting against the representative of authority, and illegal possession of weapons.
The presiding judge asked whether the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges announced. “What do you think my answer to this question could be,” defendant Elchin Gasimov asked reciprocally. “Say no,” the judged replied. “See? Even you know that we are innocent. Do not bother enumerating the charges one by one. I do not consider myself guilty at all,” Gasimov said.
Defendant Ali Shahbazov also pleaded not guilty. “I did not know there were phones in Azerbaijan that could turn into a weapon. When I was arrested, two phones were found on me. But they have written that two grenades were found on me. Perhaps, it is the result of an unprecedented development,” Shahbazov said sarcastically.
“I consider guilty, not myself, but those who have made up the indictment bill,” defendant Seyfaddin Shirvanov noted.
Defendant Isa Ibrahimov also pleaded not guilty. “There is one person who is guilty in my arrest. It is Taleh Garashov, head of Lankaran executive power. These charges belong to him,” Ibrahimov said.
Agaali Yahyayev also pleaded not guilty and said ‘whoever reads our case file can understand that these charges have been invented by someone who has sold two calves and [paid the money to get] employed’.
The other defendants also pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The next hearing was set for 19 January, 10 am.
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 is under trial in Baku Grave Crimes Court along with 17 other men.