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On 16 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Ahmad Guliyev held a closed hearing on the criminal case of Nardaran Elders’ Council Chairman Natig Karimov and former Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan Islamic Party Ingilab Ahadov.
Natig Karimov’s son Kamran Karimov, who had been invited to the proceedings as a witness, refused to testify, referring to his right not to testify as a close relative of the defendant.
After that, other witnesses – Gulkhanim Rasulova, Ramiz Manafov, Nigar Agayeva, Javanshir Huseynov, Sabuhi Salimov, Mammadaga Aliyev, Ali Zeynalov and Rauf Mammadov – were questioned. During their testimonies, the witnesses said they had received financial assistance at amounts of AZN 50, 100, and 250 from the Council of Nardaran Elders and the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan.
The next hearing was set for 30 March.
Background: Natig Karimov is accused of secretly collaborating with a foreign intelligence agency, fulfilling its orders for a long time, and spying to the detriment of state security, thereby committing treason. He had initially been placed into pre-trial detention after being indicted under Article 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code. However, Karimov was later released to house arrest.
Defendant Ingilab Ahadov is also accused of collaborating with a foreign intelligence agency, carrying out its instructions on a regular basis since 2011, and spying to the detriment of Azerbaijan’s state security, thus committing treason. He is similarly charged under Article 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code. The court has ordered his pre-trial detention.