Witnesses Testify in Arrested NIDA Member’s Trial


Summary: Hearing 4

  • • NIDA activist Elgiz Gahramanov was appregended together with his friend by plainclothesmen at noon on 12 August. His friend was released several hours later, but the activist himself was not freed. Gahramanov was charged under Article 234.4.3 (illegal purchase or storage with a view of selling, manufacturing, processing, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances at a large amount) of the Criminal Code and had been ordered detained for 4 months by Narimanov District Court’s decision of 13 August 2016. Gahramov absolutely denies changes.
    • Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD) senior officerShahlar Jafarov and chief of division Karim Alimardanov testified as additional witnesses;
    • Only one of the three motions filed by the youth activist’s barristers was sustained by the court.

On 26 December, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Azad Majidov held a hearing on the criminal case of NIDA Civic Movement member Elgiz Gahraman.

MOCD senior officer Shahlar Jafarov and chief of division Karim Alimardanov were called in and testified as additional witnesses at the hearing based on the motion of youth activist’s barristerFariz Namazli.

During Jafarov’s and Alimardanov’s testimonies, the youth activist spoke about the torture he had suffered at MOCD. “Upon my detention on 12 August, I was taken to MOCD, to the room of the chief (Alimardanov). Shahlar Jafarov put the drugs into my pocket. My hands were cuffed behind my back. The other operatives left the room. Karim Alimardanov demanded that I admit to drug possession. I refused. He started to beat me. I told them to call a lawyer for me. Karim Alimardanov said ‘Looks like, you have watched American movies a lot. Your lawyer will be he whom we want’. They brought my computer from our office and logged in to my Facebook account. Karim said ‘See whether he has written anything about the state’. They printed out my posts and put them on the table in front of Karim Alimardanov. They saw that there was nothing about the government. Then, Karim Alimardanov demanded that I sign the statement on me having ties to Fetullah Gulen. I refused again. They held me there for 6 days and beat me on a regular basis. On Karim Alimardanov’s instruction, they stripped and beat me every day. They forced me into cleaning the floor with my undergarment,” Elgiz Gahraman said.

However, Shahlar Jafarov and Karim Alimardanov denied the youth activist’s assertions. Both of them stated that Gahraman had not been in their room. To prove his own version of events, Elgiz Gahraman described the office room of each of the witnesses by saying ‘Both Karim Alimardanov’s and Shahlar Jafarov’s rooms are on the 5th floor of MOCD. Shahlar’s room is further away from Karim Alimardanov’s. There are nine telephones in Mr. Alimardanov’s room, a place to keep batons, and a video camera which they used to film me. There is nothing else. In Shahlar Jafarov’s room there are two tables and two desktop computers. There is a tableau and a clock on the wall above the sofa. There are many baseball bats behind the door.’

Shahlar Jafarov and Karim Alimardanov repeated that Elgiz Gahraman was making this up. Both of them said the doors of their rooms might have been left open when Elgiz was led through the corridor and he saw the inside.

Elgiz Gahraman said it was the witnesses who were actually telling a lie. “Was I having a walk up there to see what their rooms looked like, really? I was inside those two rooms. When Shahlar Jafarov put the drugs into my pocket, I asked what my guilt was. He said ‘You are not guilty, that’s why you are dangerous’,” the youth activist noted.

Thereafter, Elgiz Gahraman’s lawyer Fariz Namazli filed a petition to request the operations register from MOCD and examine it. “There is no evidence in the case file about drug usage by Elgiz Gahraman. Yet, Kamil Mammadov testified that he had received operational information. Therefore, we want the operations register to be presented to the court, and the operatives to be summoned and questioned. If the motion is granted, considering that this person is an operative, let the hearing be held behind closed doors and let his face be covered while he is questioned,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer’s second motion requested submission of an inquiry to the Forensic Examination Centre. “On the very day of Elgiz Gahraman’s arrest, they obtained an expert opinion regarding the drugs allegedly found on him. How could all this happen at lightning speed? Please request and obtain the entry-exit register from the Examination Centre,” the lawyer said.

Youth activist’s other barrister Nemat Karimli filed a petition to call Oktay Aliyev, who represented Elgiz Gahraman as a court-appointed lawyer during investigation, and to question him as an additional witness. Nemat Karimli said they had information that Oktay Aliyev had informally taken part in a lot of cases.

The court granted only the motion concerning the examination of the expert.

The next hearing was set for 5 January , 5.30 pm.

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