Tortures of blogger Rashad Ramazanov confirmed during trial – lawyer

Another hearing on the case of blogger Rashad Ramazanov was held in the Baku Court of Grave Crimes on 4 May, lawyer Elchin Sadygov told Turan.

In connection with Rashad Ramazanov’s allegations of tortures against him after his detention at the police station, the defence had previously requested an investigation into his complaint. The court sent requests to the 14th branch of the Sabunchu district police department, where Ramazanov was taken after his arrest, as well as to the Baku SIZO-1, where he was transferred after his arrest as a preventive measure.

On 4 May the court received official responses to the requests, the lawyer noted. The answer from the 14th branch stated that Ramazanov had no injuries when he was admitted to the department. However, the response from the SIZO-1 indicated that when Ramazanov was admitted to this institution he had bodily injuries in the form of bruises on both thighs, nose, forehead, the lawyer said.

To the lawyer’s thinking, the content of the answers confirm the fact of physical pressure on the blogger after his arrest in order to make a confession.

According to the “Generalisation of Judicial Practice” of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan, if the fact of torture is confirmed, the accused should be acquitted by the court, since unlawful actions were applied against him.

“What decision the court will take based on the results of the investigation, I do not know, but according to the law the only correct decision should be an acquittal verdict,” Sadygov stressed.

Yesterday the court also granted the defence’s motion to summon to the court as a witness the head of the interrogation department of the anti-narcotics police of the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan, who was present at the initial questioning. The next court hearing is scheduled for 25 May, and the police officer is scheduled to appear at the trial, the lawyer said.

* Rashad Ramazanov was detained on 20 May 2022, and the next day he was arrested for four months on charges under Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking on a large scale) of the Criminal Code and faces up to five to 12 years ща шьзкшыщтьуте. At present, his case is under review by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.

It is to remind that Rashad Ramazanov was also arrested in May 2013 and sentenced to nine years of imprisonment, also on charges of drug trafficking on a large scale. Local human rights organisations stated that the real reason for the arrest was criticism of the authorities on social media and recognised Ramazanov as a political prisoner. He was pardoned by the head of state in March 2019.

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