Youth Activist Giyas Ibrahimov Testifies of Torture at Trial

September 27th, 2016

qiyas

Summary: Hearing 3

 Public prosecutor Ali Aliyev read out the indictment at the hearing. According to the indictment, Giyas Ibrahimov had purchased more than 1 kg of heroin from an Iranian citizen by name Akram and stored them with the intent to sell.
 The presiding judge asked Giyas Ibrahimov whether he pleaded guilty to the charges. Ibrahimov pleaded not guilty.
 Defendant Giyas Ibrahimov testified at the hearing. He told: “The reason I was arrested is the slogan which I wrote on the statue of former president Heydar Aliyev and shared on a social network.”
 Youth activist said that his rights and duties had not been explained to him during the investigation, and his state-appointed lawyer had not defended him.
 Operations officer of Drug Enforcement Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs Parviz Mammadov testified at the hearing. He said the Department had received information on the possession of drugs by Giyas Ibrahimov and an operation had been conducted to check the accuracy of the information

Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Anvar Seyidov held a hearing on the criminal case of Giyas Ibrahimov where he recounted his experience of being tortured while in detention. The defendant was represented by Elchin Sadigov while the prosecution was represented by Ali Aliyev.

Members of opposition civic movement NIDAand 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 Ibrahimovon , 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 seizedon 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 Ibrahimovto a 4-month pre-trial detention. The youth activists have reported being subjected to torture whilst in detention.

Public prosecutor Ali Aliyev read out the indictment at the hearing. According to the indictment, Giyas Ibrahimov had purchased more than 1 kg of heroin from an Iranian citizen by name Akram and stored them with the intent to sell. The indictment read that the major part of the drugs had been found in Ibrahimov’s house, and part of them in his pocket.

The presiding judge asked Giyas Ibrahimov whether he pleaded guilty to the charges. Ibrahimov pleaded not guilty.

Defendant Giyas Ibrahimov testified at the hearing.

“The reason I was arrested is the slogan which I wrote on the statue of former president Heydar Aliyev and shared on a social network. Upon my detention, they asked why I had written this slogan. At the police station, they told me that I was charged solely because of this. They swore at me, insulted me and beat me. The drug charges have nothing to do with me.

On the day I was arrested, I had just left the building of the Slavic University, where I had been studying, at between 4 pm and 5 pm, after sitting an exam. I had not walked too far [from the university building], when someone hit me in the head from behind and I fell down. A civilian car stopped by me. They put me into the car, but did not introduce themselves. They were four besides me. One of them asked why I had written the statue. They took me to Baku City Main Police Department. I remained at the Police Department for more than one hour with my hands cuffed. They took me into a large room. One of them entered in and said ‘he has shown disrespect for the national leader’. They cursed and insulted me.

One of them threatened that they would search me. I said ‘I have nothing on me, but because we have written the graffiti on the statue you will probably plant something and then find it’.

They pulled a wrap of drugs unfamiliar to me from the left pocket of my jacket. I said they had planted it themselves and it had nothing to do with me. The name of the person, who planted the drug on me and then pulled it from my pocket, was, if I am not mistaken, Shirali. They were beating me with their hands and feet. When pulling the drugs from my pocket, they once again said that they had detained me for writing graffiti on the late President’s statute.

I said ‘everyone will know why you have done this, no matter what’. I said I did not even smoke. They said ‘your friend Ilgar was not smoking either, but we sent him up’. They were alluding to REAL chairman Ilgar Mammadov. I said I did not know Ilgar Mammadov.

Then they took me into a smaller room. They said ‘we can send all of you to a place of no return’. A middle-aged man came in. They again insulted and verbally abused me. The one, who pulled the drugs from my pocket, asked if I had a personal space in our house. I asked why they were asking and said ‘is it not enough for you, will you pull something from the house, too?’ Upon that, they insulted and cursed me. They said ‘you have got yourself into a big trouble and now you are going to do what we tell you to do’. They said ‘do you want us to sexually assault you?’ They said ‘do you really think that you do not confess and that is it?’ They said ‘we will involve your relatives in the investigation and arrest them on false accusations of physically hurt them. They said ‘we are going to your house together with you and you will confess whatever is found’. They beat and insulted me on the way home. The one who beat and insulted me in the car was operations officer of Drug Enforcement Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs Parviz Mammadov,” GiyasIbrahimov said.

The youth activist said they had entered his house like bandits, went behind the bed, bent down as if searching for something, and pulled drugs from there.

According to Giyas Ibrahimov, he had signed his testimony under duress, and had subsequently been taken to the room of Mirgafar Seyidov, the chief of Baku city Main Police Department.

“My hands were cuffed. Mirgafar Seyidov said ‘those brought before me do not sit in front of me, they kneel down’. I asked why I had to kneel. Thereupon, the policeman by name Parviz kicked me in my feet with my hands cuffed, and I fell down.

They asked who had given the order to write the graffiti on the statue. They said ‘what ties do you have to Habib Muntazir that Meydan TV has shared the photo?’ I said the photo had been disseminated on a social network and Meydan TV had taken and posted it. Mirgafar Seyidov said ‘you are unsuitable for this country, you are enemies, and we will weed you out to the best of our abilities.’ They required my Facebook password and I gave. They said ‘if the password is wrong, we will make you suffer’.

After a while they came and said the account was closed and they could not access it. I said I did not know why it was inaccessible, it must have been accessible. Then they took me to the temporary holding facility of Narimanov District Police Department. Two days later, when they were taking me to the court, they hit me in the yard and required me to sweep the yard. I was forced to comply and they were filming it with their phone cameras.

When I was at the temporary holding facility, ParvizMammadov came and said ‘tomorrow, we will take you to HeydarAliyev’s statue. Apologise publicly in front of the statue. AZTV will come and film’. I said I could not agree to it. Then they took me to Narimanov District Court and imposed the sanction,” the youth activist said.

The public prosecutor told Giyas Ibrahimov that he had written in his investigation statement that he admitted his guilt. In response, Giyas Ibrahimov said he did not confirm the referenced statement as he had provided it under duress and torture, and his true testimony was the one which he was currently providing.

The youth activist added that his rights and duties had not been explained to him during the investigation, and his state-appointed lawyer had not defended him.

Afterwards, operations officer of Drug Enforcement Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs Parviz Mammadov testified at the hearing. He said the Department had received information on the possession of drugs by GiyasIbrahimov and an operation had been conducted to check the accuracy of the information. According to witness Mammadov, Giyas Ibrahimov had told them that he had bought the drugs from an Iranian national four days earlier and that he had also kept drugs in his house. The witness added that Giyas Ibrahimov himself had taken and presented the drugs to them.

The witness was then cross-examined by lawyer Elchin Sadigov. Being asked whether Giyas Ibrahimov had been subjected to any pressure or torture, the witness said Ibrahimov had not been pressurised or tortured.

Next, operations officer of Drug Enforcement Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs Elvin Kazimov testified. His testimony was the same as that of the previous witness.

In response to the lawyer’s question, Kazimov said the [state-appointed] lawyer had been invited by another operative during the investigation. At this moment, Parviz Mammadov, who was still sitting in the court hall, interfered by saying maybe Kazimov had too much work to do that he did not recall inviting the lawyer. After that, answering the lawyer’s repeated question, Kazimov said he might have invited the lawyer himself.

Giyas Ibrahimov identified Kazimov as one of the persons who had hit him in the head. He also pointed out conflicting responses given by the two operatives to the questions.

As the working hours were over, the next hearing was set for 28 September 2016, 5 pm.