Thirtieth Day in Nardaran Trial Marked by Controversy over Validity of Some Witnesses

October 24th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 30 

  • Lawyer Yalchin Imanov’s motion to summon Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) officer Ibrahim Kazimov for re-interrogation was rejected;
  • Lawyer Yalchin Imanov filed a motion to remove the written statements of Samir Azimov, a patrol officer for Sabunchu District Police Department, and witness Fuad Hasanov from the list of evidence, after it turned out that they had not provided witness statements for the investigating authority. The motion was left undecided.

On 24 October 2016 Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Alovsat Abbasov continued the hearing on the criminal case of Muslim Union Movement’s Chairman Taleh Bagirzade and other members of the Muslim Union Movement, charged under 21 articles of the Criminal Code including homicide, terrorism and incitement.

The APFP Deputy Chairman Fuad Gahramanli who is not a member of the Movement but yet accused of promoting their cause 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 respectively.

On 26 November 2015 an armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku, 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 in relation to the incident by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic.

Fuad Gahramanli, who was not present during the incident, was arrested on 8 December, 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.

The presiding judge first commented on the motion filed at the previous hearing by lawyer Yalchin Imanov, who requested that MOCD officer Ibrahim Kazimov be summoned for a re-interrogation. The judge did not sustain the motion on the ground that Kazimov had already been summoned and questioned twice.

Questioning of witnesses:

Farid Salimov, a patrol officer for Sabunchu District Police Department, testified as a witness. He noted that they were on duty at a football game on 5 November 2015, when they were informed of a large gathering in front of Sabunchu District Police Department and went there. Salimov stated that the crowd were throwing rocks at the police, but he was not injured and did not lose anything during the incident.

Witness Salimov said he was unaware of the reasons for the detention of the persons arrested as part of the case under consideration.

Lawyer Yalchin Imanov said the persons, who had testified at this trial but had also been sentenced as part of the same case, had been tortured upon detention. Witness Salimov said he had not seen those persons be tortured.

During the cross-examination of the witness by lawyer Abel Bayramov it turned out that Salimov had not given a statement during the preliminary investigation. The lawyer reminded that there was a statement bearing Salimov’s signature among the case materials, but Salimov denied having provided a statement. Lawyer Nemat Karimli petitioned the court to revoke Salimov’s witness status.

The same issue was revealed with regard to witness Samir Azimov, who also turned out to have not been interviewed as a witness during the preliminary investigation. Lawyer Abel Bayramov said it was unlawful on the part of Azimov to testify as a witness if he had not given a witness statement to the investigating authority.

Witness Azimov then stated that he had been interviewed by the investigator. The presiding judge asked the witness to identify the investigator, who had interrogated him, and the witness said it was an investigator by name Jeyhun. But referring to the interrogation record in the case file, lawyer Nemat Karimli said the investigator’s name was Turan Abbasov. The lawyer asked the court to deprive Azimov of his witness status.

Lawyer Yalchin Imanov requested that both witnesses’ statements be removed from the list of evidence. The motion was left undecided by the presiding judge.

After that, the court adjourned due to some witnesses’ failure to show up.

The next hearing was set for October 26, 10.30am.