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On October 25, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Anvar Seyidov continued NIDA member, youth activist Giyas Ibrahimov’s trial on drug charges.
Youth activist’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov did not make a defence speech at the hearing. Sadigov said his speech won’t change anything, so he presented a text of his speech to the court in writing, in which he mentioned that Giyas Ibrahimov was innocent and asked for his acquittal.
Thereupon, youth activist Giyas Ibrahimov made his final speech. He said that he had also put down his speech on paper, but detention facility employees had seized it.
“I am not going to defend myself against the charges. Everyone with a conscience knows that the real reason behind my arrest is my protest against the arbitrariness in the country. I have not violated any written law. The system tries to show the slavery based on unwritten laws as liberty,” the youth activist said.
Ibrahimov further noted that his protest against the injustice of the system by writing a slogan on late president Heydar Aliyev’s statue was regarded as an insult to the soul of a person who has passed away, and that he was told ‘you should’ve written it on your own grandpa’s grave’.
“We have realised that we are not slaves to the government and we have stood by the truth and those who tell the truth. The system intended to rout us, but they failed. At the detention facility, they are telling us that we have trapped ourselves in a deep well. Yes, we have trapped ourselves in a deep well and are trying to find its water. Maybe it will wash away the dirt of the system. We have chosen this path for this purpose and we are not going to ask for your forgiveness,” Giyas Ibrahimov said.
The people watching the trial were removed from the courtroom before the announcement of the verdict.
According to the court’s judgment, Giyas Ibrahimov was sentenced to 10 years in jail. The public prosecutor had requested a 9-year sentence for Ibrahimov.
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 pre-trial detention term was further extended in September. The youth activists have reported being subjected to torture whilst in detention.