Summary: Hearing 2
- The public prosecutor announced the indictment bill at the hearing. The accused – youth activist Bayram Mammadov – rejected the charges;
- Bayram Mammadov said he had nothing to do with drugs but had been coerced through torture to admit the drug charges during the investigation phase;
- Testifying at the hearing, Shirali Babayev, a detective with the Department for Combating Drugs of Baku City Police Department, and Naib Omarov, an officer for the same Department, said drugs had been found on Bayram Mammadov and in his apartment.
Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Eynulla Valiyev continued the hearing on the drug charges brought against NIDA Civic Movement member Bayram Mammadov.
Announcement of indictment
At the start of the hearing, the public prosecutor announced the conclusion of the indictment bill. According to the charges, having agreed with an Iranian citizen unidentified by the investigating authority to illegally receive, transport, store and sell a large amount of drugs, Bayram Mammadov acted in collusion with him to this end, and illegally acquired 1152.904 grams, i.e. a large quantity, of heroin primitively produced from opium from the Iranian citizen in around January of 2016 on the condition of giving a half of the money made out of the future sale, and transported the drugs and hid them in his apartment, and based on the operational information received by the Department, an operational team was set up and Bayram Mammadov was detained and brought to Baku City Police Department, and drugs were found on him and in his home.
Bayram Mammadov did not agree with the charges and did not confirm his statement provided to the investigating agency. He said he had given that statement under duress.
Bayram Mammadov’s testimony:
Bayram Mammadov testified at the hearing. “There is one reason behind my arrest. I have been arrested for writing a slogan on the statue of Heydar Aliyev, who is a granddad for many but not for me. My purpose in writing that slogan was to protest against the injustices in the country and to irritate the Big Brother (hints at President Ilham Aliyev). I do not regret writing the slogan. After us, similar things were done in several other countries. I wrote the slogan on the statue together with Giyas Ibrahimov at about 11pm on May 9. At noon on May 10, our home phone rang and the caller asked ‘is it you Bayram Mammadov?’ I understood that they had come to arrest me. I left home and after walking a little, three men approached me and forced me into a Jeep. They beat me inside the car. They took me to the 12th police station of Sabunchu district, where I was beaten up again. Then I was taken to Baku City Police Department, where my arms were tied and I was tortured. They threatened me with a baton (i.e. raping with a baton) and to harm my family, and told me that I had to accept the charges and say that the rest of the drugs were at home. I cannot describe the tortures in detail because my family members are here. I do not want them to hear the story and be upset. Due to those tortures, I was forced to admit the charges. At this moment, I recant my statement provided to the investigative agency,” Bayram Mammadov said.
Bayram Mammadov said he had not been given the opportunity to choose a lawyer at the time of detention, and the lawyer invited for him had not done his job properly.
Testimonies of prosecution witnesses:
Police lieutenant Shirali Babayev, a detective with the Department for Combating Drugs of Baku City Police Department, testified at the hearing as a witness for the prosecution. He noted that based on the information received by the Department they had formed an operational team, detained Bayram Mammadov in Sabunchu settlement and brought him to Baku City Police Department. “At the Department, Bayram Mammadov voluntarily handed over the drugs he had on him and said the remainder of the drugs were in his home. Bayram Mammadov and we, the operational team members, went to Bayram Mammadov’s apartment. Bayram took a packet containing drugs from behind the desktop computer in his bedroom, and gave it to us. And, we implemented the investigative actions provided for in the legislation,” the witness said.
The witness said Bayram Mammadov had not been tortured during detention.
After that, witness Naib Omarov, a detective with the Department for Combating Drugs of Baku City Police Department, basically repeated Shirali Babayev’s testimony.
Farid Babayev, an officer with the 32nd police station of Sabunchu District Police Department (who was working for the 12th police station of Sabunchu District Police Department at the time of Bayram Mammadov’s detention), took the witness stand next. He testified that drugs had been found on Bayram Mammadov and in his apartment and Bayram Mammadov had not been subjected to any kind of pressure.
Testifying at the hearing, attesting witnesses Intigam Karimov and Nizami Guliyev noted that drugs had been found during the search of Bayram Mammadov and his home.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov said both of the attesting witnesses were collaborators of the police, and had also participated in other drug-related cases as attesting witnesses earlier.
At the hearing, lawyer Elchin Sadigov filed a motion to examine additional witnesses. He wanted Yunis Alasgarov, the deputy chief of the 12th police station of Sabunchu District Police Department, and Ramin Aslanov, the district police officer of the same police station, to be examined in court. The judge granted the motion.
The next hearing will be held on November 24, at 2.30 pm.
Background: Members of opposition civic movement NIDA and final-year students of Azerbaijan Slavic University, Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov were arrested on drug charges on 10 May 2016. They were involved in writing graffiti on a statue of former President Heydar Aliyev. Both youths have claimed that they have been arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The two youths went missing since the evening hours on 10 May 2016. It was only on 12 May 2016 that the Ministry of Internal Affairs released information on the youths’ arrest.
According to the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as a result of search carried out by the officers of the Drug Enforcement Department of Baku City Main Police Office, Police Office #22 of Nasimi District Police Department and Police Office #25 of Nizami District Police Department, 2.607 grams of heroin was found and seized on Giyas Ibrahimov on, and additional 1 kilogram and 10 grams of heroin were found and seized during the search of his apartment. As a result of another search conducted by the officers of the Drug Enforcement Department of Baku City Main Police Office and Police Office #12 of Sabunchu District Police Department, 2.904 grams of heroin were found and seized on Bayram Mammadov, and additional 1 kilogram and 150 grams of heroin were found and seized during the search of his house.
Both activists were charged with drug possession upon arrest. On 12 May 2016, Baku Court sentenced Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov to a 4-month pre-trial detention. Their detention term was further extended in September. The youth activists have reported being subjected to torture whilst in detention. On October 25, Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Giyas Ibrahimov to 10 years in jail.