Trial of Aziz Orujov Begins With Testimony and Denied Motions

October 11th, 2017

Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the criminal case of Aziz Orujov, Executive Director of Kanal13 internet television. Judge Murad Khankishiyev presided over the hearing.
Orujov was removed from the enclosed glass dock and seated next to his lawyers.

Lawyer Javad Javadov asked the court to decide on their motion from the previous hearing, which requested that Orujov’s pretrial detention measure be replaced.
Another motion lodged by the lawyer was about sending an enquiry to the Constitutional Court to provide interpretation of Article 192.1 of the Criminal Code.
The public prosecutor asked for the motion to be rejected.
The court went to the deliberation room to discuss the motion. According to the decision announced upon the deliberation, the motions were denied.
Murad Khankishiyev then noted that he had already expressed his opinion on the motion to release Orujov under house arrest at the previous hearing. The judge said that he upheld his decision taken at the previous hearing, as he saw no need to grant the motion.
Thus, the court rejected the other motion, too.
In the continuation of the hearing, the public prosecutor announced the indictment.
Orujov pleaded absolutely not guilty to the charges.
The court proceeded to the stage of witness testimonies. First, Orujov’s mother Almaz Hasanova testified. “My son is a well-bred, considerate and educated person. He has graduated from Baku State University. Afterwards, he worked as a journalist. Aziz’s brother Anar established the Caucasus Media Research Centre. Aziz was its director. I do not know for sure, but they might have received grants in their activities and used them to carry out their work. By God, I do not know how much grants they have received and how much they have earned, but it was me and Aziz’s father who paid the rent for Aziz’s apartment. I do not know the law well enough. I wonder whether someone is supposed to serve punishment due to his brother’s or father’s case,” Hasanova said.
“Who told Aziz Orujov that he was being punished for Anar Orujov,” the judge asked.
Almaz Hasanova responded that the investigator in charge of the case had said so. “The investigator said Aziz was serving punishment for Anar’s actions. I told him that if a child misbehaved and was in the wrong path, it was his mother and teacher who were to blame. I suggested that the investigator detain me instead of him. The investigator said he would detain me, my daughter-in-law and other son, too. I said it would be even better, because I would be together with my children,” Hasanova said.
It turned out in court that the chairperson of the organisation established by the Orujov brothers was witness Almaz Hasanova.
She said the funds allocated to the organisation had been received by her other son, Anar Orujov. “Aziz was totally unaware of this,” she noted.
Almaz Hasanova added that she had been subjected to pressure during investigation. “I gave statements at the investigating agency twice. The first time I went there, I didn’t feel well. I asked to [go home and] come the next day, but they did not let me. I have suffered a stroke in the past. They took my statement, but it could not be finished, as I felt too unwell. The investigator was Orkhan Babayev. The first day I went there, I was not accompanied by my representative. I asked for my representative to come, but they did not give the opportunity. The second time, I went with my representative,” she said.
The judge reminded that when signing her investigation statement, the witness had noted that her representative was by her side.
Almaz Hasanova replied that the investigator had her sign one more document which she had not read. “We left when my health deteriorated. But I did not sign the document. After my next interrogation, the investigator followed me out into the corridor and gave me a document to sign. I signed it without reading,” she noted.
The next witness was Aziz Orujov’s wife Lamiya Orujova.
She said she had been married to Aziz Orujov for 4 years. According to her, the Caucasus Media Research Centre had already stopped functioning at that time.
She also noted that it was Aziz Orujov’s brother who supervised the organisation’s activities and receipt of grants. “I am unaware of the organisation’s activities. But I do know about Kanal13. Salaries were paid by Aziz. He worked as a taxi driver after [his main] work,” Orujova said.
The next hearing was set for 17 October.
Background: Aziz Orujov was detained on 2 May 2017 for allegedly resisting the police. The court sentenced him to 30 days of administrative imprisonment. On 1 June 2017, the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case against him. He was charged under Articles 192 (illegal business) and 308.2 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code.
Nasimi District Court ordered that Orujov be placed in pretrial detention for 4 months.