Witness Attests to Innocence of Opposition Party Activist Mammad Ibrahim
Summary: Hearing 7 (February 12, 2016)
Ø Prosecution witness Agshin Hagverdiyev testified that Mammad Ibrahim had not attacked or cursed the men recognized by the court as victims, Mikayil Guliyev, Oruj Valiyev and Mahammad Gurbanov;
Ø The court rejected the motion filed by Mammad Ibrahim’s lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, which requested that witnesses Agshin Hagverdiyev and Vugar Abbasov be recognize as victims in the case.
The hearing on the hooliganism case against Mammad Ibrahim, advisor to the Chairman of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), continued with testimonies by prosecution witness testimonies in Narimanov District Court, chaired by judge Turgay Huseynov.
Prosecution witness testimony:
Agshin Hagverdiyev gave evidence as a witness on behalf of the prosecution. He stated that he had been an eyewitness to the altercation between Mikayil Guliyev (one of the victims in the case) and Mammad Ibrahim on September 29, 2015. “Prior to their argument, Mikayil Guliyev had repeatedly cursed and insulted Mammad Ibrahim and his family members via Facebook. On the evening of September 29, Mammad Ibrahim bumped into Mikayil Guliyev and asked him to explain his behavior. He asked, “what would you do if I cursed your family?”, whereupon Mikayil Guliyev attacked Mammad Ibrahim, calling him names. I tried to separate them, but ended up being struck by Mikayil Guliyev’s fists. I did not hear Mammad Ibrahim curse or insult Guliyev, but Mikayil Guliyev used offensive language towards Mammad Ibrahim. I did not see Mammad Ibrahim raise his hand against Mikayil Guliyev. I am friends with Mikayil, but he is uncouth, and swears all the time.”
In response to the lawyer’s questions, the witness said that Oruj Valiyev and Mahammad Gurbanov, recognized by the court as victims in the case, were not present when the argument between Mammad Ibrahim and Mikayil Guliyev took place on September 29, 2015, and that he did not know those men. Hagverdiyev also told the court that Mikayil Guliyev was not independently minded, and tended to act on the instructions of others.
After the witness testimony, Mammad Ibrahim’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov filed a motion. He reminded the court that both of the prosecution witnesses, Vugar Abbasov and Agshin Hagverdiyev had testified that they had been punched by Mikayil Guliyev. At the hearing on February 1, 2016, Abbasov stated that his shirt had been torn when he stepped in to break up the fight between Mikayil Guliyev and Mammad Ibrahim. “Both Vugar Abbasov and Agshin Hagverdiyev, who are referred to as witnesses in this case, should be recognized as victims.”
The public prosecutor requested that the motion be rejected, on the basis that none of the witnesses had indicated in their initial statements that Mikayil Guliyev had punched them. The judge commented that the motion would only exacerbate Mammad Ibrahim’s standing, given that since Mikayil Guliyev was not a defendant but a victim in the present case, the witnesses could not be recognized as victims. Even if they were recognized as such, this would increase the penalty against Mammad Ibrahim’s. The judge said he would therefore reject the lawyer’s motion as completely unfounded, and not compliant with the law.
Yalchin Imanov filed a second motion requesting the court to issue a special order to take measures against Mikayil Guliyev in light of the testimonies by witnesses Vugar Abbasov’s and Agshin Hagverdiyev, and to task law enforcement agencies with executing these measures. The motion was left unconsidered. The judge stated that a special order should only be issued together with the final decision of the court, i.e. the verdict.
As the final prosecution witness was out of the country, the hearing was postponed until February 19, at 12.00pm.
Background: Mammad Ibrahim was arrested on September 30, 2015, in a criminal case launched on the basis of a complaint by former APFP member Mikayil Guliyev. Ibrahim was first charged under article 221.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code. Almost a month later, two others, Oruj Valiyev and Mahammad Gurbanov filed a complaint, claiming that during the incident Mammad Ibrahim had punched them, too. Subsequently, the initial charge brought against Mammad Ibrahim was replaced by a more serious one under article 221.2.2 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates a punishment of imprisonment for up to five years or corrective labor for up to two years.