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Dr. Leyla Yunus’s speech on the meeting of Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament on 17 June 2021

June 17, 2021

Azerbaijan cannot be a partner of the European Union

Dr. Leyla Yunus

Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy

In April 2021, the EU resumed negotiations with the Azerbaijan Republic in the framework of the Eastern Partnership regarding the human rights situation in this country. Violations of the human rights and democratic freedoms in Azerbaijan are ongoing, and in recent years the situation has become even more dramatic. We”ll illustrate it with the existence of political prisoners in the Republic. As of today, there are hundred eleven political prisoners within the country with a population of ten million people. All the information concerning these prisoners is available on the website of our Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), right here:

Political prisoners for 5 april 2021

The number of political prisoners in the country never falls below 100 people. Today they are divided into 7 groups:

This list consists of 7 groups and includes 111 people:

  • Group № 1 Journalists and Bloggers – 7 persons
  • Group № 2 Members of Opposition Parties and Movements – 6 persons
  • Group № 3 Arrested after the rally on July 14-15, 2020 – 3 persons
  • Group № 4 Peaceful Believers – 18 persons
  • Group № 5 Convicted in Tartar case – 25 persons
  • Group № 6 Convicted in Ganja case – 38 persons
  • Group № 7 Life Term Sentenced – 14 persons

The group #1 includes 7 journalists and bloggers convicted for criticizing the authorities or the President Ilham Aliyev. The IPD website displays a number of legal studies of the trials, which show that innocent people were sentenced on trumped-up charges with illegal and unreasonable sentences that deprived them of their liberty:

– Analysis of the trial against the journalist and human defender Elchin Mammad – https://www.ipd-az.org/elchin-mamed/

– Analysis of the trial against the journalist Polad Aslanov – https://www.ipd-az.org/polad-aslanv/

– Analysis of the trial against the journalist Afgan Sadigov, who immediately after receiving an unlawful sentence declared a hunger strike and fell into a coma:

Afghan Sadigov, a journalist, went on a hunger strike immediately after being illegally convicted and in 82 days he fell into coma…

– Analysis of the trial against the journalists and civic activists Elchin Hasanzade and Ibrahim Salamov: https://www.ipd-az.org/there-is-no-freedom-of-speech-in-azerbaijan/

The IPD had no opportunity to monitor and analyze all the trials that had been arranged by means of political persecution. Yet, the violation of the national Azerbaijani legislation and International Law throughout all the trials analyzed by the IPD lawyers clearly indicates there is no independent judicial system in the country and political repression prevails.

We analyzed the trial of Saleh Rustamov, Aqil Maharramov and other from the group Members of opposition parties and movements: https://www.ipd-az.org/baku-city-court-on-grave-crimes-passed-a-sentence-on-5-defendants-on-so-called-case-illegal-financing-of-azerbaijani-popular-front-party/

Also, trial of Pasha Umudov: https://www.ipd-az.org/pasha-umudov/

The repression against peaceful believers in Azerbaijan has been a constant problem. Currently, there are 18 individuals in the Peaceful Believers group. The beatings, torture, unjustified long terms of imprisonment (for 17-20 years) lead only to the forced radicalization of peaceful believers. Meanwhile, the courts simply ignored the appeals to the court regarding prisoners’ torture, as they rejected the appeal about torture of Abbas Huseynov in the Gobustan prison. A legal analysis of this trial here: https://www.ipd-az.org/the-court-rejected-the-complaint-of-abbas-huseynov-about-torture/

The worst crime of the Aliyev regime in recent years is Terter case.

In 2017, without a court decision, about 2.000 people were arrested, mainly military personnel in Terter region. Most of them were charged with treason. According to information, gathered by IPD, in May 2017 the investigators of Military Procurator’s Office in Terter region, in Azerbaijan, killed 11 citizens of Azerbaijan, under tortures:

  •  Mehman Huseynov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 16, 2017.
  • Sahavat Bunyadov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 17, 2017.
  • Saleh Gafarov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 14, 2017.
  • Elchin Quliyev was arrested on May 11, his body was buried on May 18, 2017.
  • Tamkin Nizamioglu was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on May 21, 2017.
  • Dayandur Azizli was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on July 20, 2017.
  • Suleyman Kazymov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 7, 2017.
  • Elkhan Agazade was arrested on May 1, his body was buried on May 10, 2017.
  • Elchin Mirzaliyev was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 25, 2017.
  • Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was arrested in the morning on May 16, 2017. The body of beaten to death Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was given out in the evening on May 16, 2017.
  • Adil Tehran oglu Sabirli was beaten to death on May 5, 2017

OMCT did Statement on Terter case “Azerbaijan: 11 deaths in custody and other serious human rights violations in the “Terter case”: https://www.omct.org/en/resources/statements/azerbaijan-11-deaths-in-custody-and-other-serious-human-rights-violations-in-the-terter-case

But this terrible crime the Azerbaijani authorities hide. Our IPD has information about 25 citizens sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (from 8 to 20 years). However, the number of convicts is more – 78 men. All trials took place in closed military courts.

Nevertheless, the lawyers of the IPD having received the documents from the two Terter trials, made their analyses. See:

The trial of 7 persons involved in the so-called “Terter case”

Another unjustified accusation of “homeland treason”

The legal examination of those two trials revealed the absolute innocence of people sentenced to jail terms from 9 to 18 years on trumped-up charges.

There are 38 people in the Convicted in Ganja case group who had been also convicted on fabricated charges, and their trials were also studied by our lawyers.

The most regrettable is the group of Life Term Sentenced, 14 people. These are people who have been imprisoned since 1994-1995, and they were considered political prisoners by the Council of Europe experts at the time of Azerbaijan’s entrance into the CoE. However, over a quarter of a century their number has been decreasing due solely to those who have died in prison.

Political repression, torture and murder caused with torture are the Azerbaijani reality. There are no independent judicial system in Azerbaijan. All judges follow instructions from the President’s office.

And if the judge does not follow the instructions from above, he immediately ceases to be a judge. As it happened with the judge of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku Samir Talybov, who on April 1, 2020 made a fair decision and released Aqil Humbatov, who criticized president on Facebook, from forced placement in a psychiatric hospital.

The next day, the judge Samir Talybov, who had released Aqil Humbatov from the psychiatric hospital, was called from the presidential office and asked to write a statement about his voluntary resignation, which he did. Within one day, the Judicial and Legal Counsel of Azerbaijan dismissed Samir Talybov from his post of judge… Here: https://www.ipd-az.org/agil-gumbatov/

Law enforcement officers fabricate accusations against critics of government officials, first of all, Ilham Aliyev, and personally torture and kill people.

Since 2014, lawyers who have the courage to defend the rights of political prisoners have been expelled from the Bar Association, just as Alaif Hasanov, Khalid Bagirov, Yalchin Imanov, Muzafar Bakhyshev, Aslan Ismayilov and Elchin Namazov were expelled.

The installation of the ugly wax figures of Armenian soldiers in the so-called Victory Park in the center of the capital, city of Baku, can in no way contribute to the establishment of peace and good trustful relations between the nations of Armenia and Azerbaijan. It would be logical to expect a change of attitude towards Armenia following the victory in the Second Karabakh War: a cessation of Armenophobia, harassment of our own citizens who have family ties with Armenians, using the word Armenian as an insulting curse, etc. But that didn’t happen.

The Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament should hold a special meeting to discuss the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.

There are no independent press in Azerbaijan, and freedom of speech is brutally suppressed. In fact, there are no officially registered independent NGO in Azerbaijan; the civil society was crushed in 2014. And currently, Ilham Aliyev has turned to suppressing independent voices outside the country.

The one of the first attack was carried out on 29th of January 2020 against the political emigrant from Azerbaijan blogger Qabil Mammadov (resident in Germany Bergkamen) . He was attacked and severely beaten by unknown persons who used tear gas against him.  His young son was present at the scene and is in the state of the psychological shock as the result of the attack against his father.

On March 14, 2021 there was an attempt upon the life of political emigrant from Azerbaijan, blogger Muhammad Mirzali. The attempt took place in France in Nantes City. Several unidentified attackers brutally beat, stabbed him multiple times and fled.

On May 2, 2021, Bayram Mammadov, a well-respected critic of the Aliyev regime, died under unclear circumstances in Turkey.

Unfortunately, Europe pays no attention to the crimes committed by the Aliyev regime.

Nowadays, a country such as Azerbaijan is not a reliable and worthy partner for the EU.

Dr. Leyla Yunus

Director of Institute for Peace and Democracy

Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor

Winner of International Theodore Hacker Award

Laureate of Polish Sergio Vieira de Mello Award

Winner of Battle of Crete Award

Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought of the European Parliament Finalist

E-mail: yunus.arif.leyla@gmail.com

Website: https://www.ipd-az.org

Skype: arif.yunusov1

Tel.: +31 611 43 59 90

 

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Dr.Leyla Yunus’s speech on the video-conference of Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe on 17 May 2021

All video-conference here:

https://vodmanager.coe.int/coe/webcast/coe/2021-05-17-2/en

 

Dr. Leyla Yunus

Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy, Azerbaijan/Netherlands

Azerbaijan ignores the Resolution 2322 (2020) on reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan

When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe in 2001, three experts of the Council of Europe visited the country and made sure that there were several hundred political prisoners in Azerbaijan. And as indicated in paragraph No. 10 of Resolution 2322 (2020):

10 When Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe, it recognised the existence of political prisoners and co-operated on measures to release them. Since then, its position has shifted to one of denial.

After the replacement of Heydar Aliyev as president in 2003 by his son Ilham, the Azerbaijan government, first of all Ilham Aliyev, deny the presence of political prisoners in the country. All the listed PACE resolutions: Resolution 1272 (2002), Resolution 1359 (2004), Resolution 1457 (2005) and Resolution 2185 (2017) are completely ignored by Ilham Aliyev. Resolution 2322 (2020) adopted in January 2020 is also ignored.

There are currently 111 political prisoners in detention:

  • Group № 1 Journalists and Bloggers – 7 persons
  • Group № 2 Members of Opposition Parties and Movements – 6 persons
  • Group № 3 Arrested after the rally on July 14-15, 2020 – 3 persons
  • Group № 4 Peaceful Believers – 18 persons
  • Group № 5 Convicted in Terter case – 25 persons
  • Group № 6 Convicted in Ganja case – 38 persons
  • Group № 7 Life Term Sentenced – 14 persons

Life Term Sentenced prisoners have been imprisoned since 1994-1995, that is, for more

than 25 years. Their number is reduced only as a result of death in prison.

As indicated in paragraph No. 7 of the Resolution 2322 (2020)

7 The Assembly recalls the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) showing that detainees, including political prisoners, are at risk of inadequate conditions and serious ill-treatment in Azerbaijani police stations, pre-trial detention centers and prisons.

Torture and murder under torture are regularly in Azerbaijan.

The worst crime of the Aliyev regime in recent years is Terter case.

In 2017, without a court decision, about 2.000 people were arrested, mainly military personnel in Terter region. Most of them were charged with treason. According to information, gathered by IPD, in May 2017 the investigators of Military Procurator’s Office in Terter region, in Azerbaijan, killed 11 citizens of Azerbaijan, under tortures:

  1. Mehman Huseynov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 16, 2017.
  2. Sahavat Bunyadov was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 17, 2017.
  3. Saleh Gafarov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 14, 2017.
  4. Elchin Quliyev was arrested on May 11, his body was buried on May 18, 2017.
  5. Tamkin Nizamioglu was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on May 21, 2017.
  6. Dayandur Azizli was arrested on May 12, his body was buried on July 20, 2017.
  7. Suleyman Kazymov was arrested on May 4, his body was buried on May 7, 2017.
  8. Elkhan Agazade was arrested on May 1, his body was buried on May 10, 2017.
  9. Elchin Mirzaliyev was arrested on May 7, his body was buried on May 25, 2017.
  10. Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was arrested in the morning on May 16, 2017. The body of beaten to death Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was given out in the evening on May 16, 2017.
  11. Adil Tehran oglu Sabirli was beaten to death on May 5, 2017

OMCT did Statement on Terter case “Azerbaijan: 11 deaths in custody and other serious human rights violations in the “Terter case”:

https://www.omct.org/en/resources/statements/azerbaijan-11-deaths-in-custody-and-other-serious-human-rights-violations-in-the-terter-case

But this terrible crime the Azerbaijani authorities hide.

Our IPD has information about 25 citizens sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (from 8 to 20 years). However, the number of convicts is more – 78 persons. All trials took place in closed military courts.

In paragraph No. 9 of the Resolution 2322 (2020) it is written:

9 The Assembly welcomes the steps taken by the Azerbaijani authorities in recent years to reform the penitentiary, criminal justice and judicial systems, ….

But in reality no reforms at all. And there are no independent judicial system in Azerbaijan. All judges follow instructions from the President’s office.

And if the judge does not follow the instructions from above, he immediately ceases to be a judge. As it happened with the judge of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku Samir Talybov, who on April 1, 2020 made a fair decision and released Aqil Humbatov, who criticized president on Facebook, from forced placement in a psychiatric hospital.

The next day, the judge Samir Talybov, who had released Aqil Humbatov from the psychiatric hospital, was called from the presidential office and asked to write a statement about his voluntary resignation, which he did. Within one day, the Judicial and Legal Counsel of Azerbaijan dismissed Samir Talybov from his post of judge… Here: https://www.ipd-az.org/agil-gumbatov/

Law enforcement officers fabricate accusations against critics of government officials, first of all, Ilham Aliyev, and personally torture and kill people.

Since 2014, lawyers who have the courage to defend the rights of political prisoners have been expelled from the Bar Association, just as Alaif Hasanov, Khalid Bagirov, Yalchin Imanov, Muzafar Bakhyshev, Aslan Ismayilov and Elchin Namazov were expelled.

All proposals in paragraph 11 of Resolution 2322 (2020) are completely ignored.

Not Azerbaijani Parliament and its members, no the Azerbaijani Government did not and do not recognize formally all of the findings of the European Court of Human Rights in its judgments establishing a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention.

There are no free and democratic elections in Azerbaijan and all members of the parliament of Azerbaijan are appointed as deputies in the presidential apparatus.

Apply to this deputies to use their legislative and executive oversight roles to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to implement fully and effectively the European Court of Human Rights judgments and prevent further recurrence of politically motivated arbitrary detention is very naive. They are no independent, they cannot do it.

In Azerbaijan government, in Azerbaijan there are not an independent and impartial body, which can be release political prisoners.

The requirements of the ECHR are also ignored. The ECHR has found a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention against more than 10 political prisoners.

The Plenum of the Supreme Court should be an acquittal against everyone from whom ECHR found a violation of Article 18.

However, the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic overturned the sentences only in respect of Ilqar Mammadov and Rasul Jafarov.

Despite numerous appeals, the Plenum of the Supreme Court does not consider the cases of Anar Mammadli, Rashadad Akhundov, Zaur Qurbanli, Uzeyir Mammadli, Rashad Hasanov, Khadija Ismayilova, Intigam Aliyev.

In the autumn of 2020, Anar Mammadli appealed to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe , pointing to the refusal of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan to consider his case.

The statement of the deputies of the Azerbaijani Parliament that the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan suspended its work due to the pandemic and the war with Armenia is not true.

After judgement in case of Ilqar Mammadov and Rasul Jafarov on 23 April 2020, the Plenum met several times: on 7 May and 18 September 2020, on 2 and 19 February 2021 and last time on 30 April 2021. But did not consider the cases of other persons in whose the ECHR decided on violation of Article 18 of the European Convention.

The ECHR also recognized a violation of Article 18 against me, Leyla Yunus, and my husband Arif. We can and must be acquitted by the Appeal Court, where our case is pending. On the contrary, the Appeal Court suspended the criminal case and put our names on the international wanted list through Interpol. This shows that Azerbaijan is not going to implement the decision of the ECHR and acquit us.

So, none of the provisions of Resolution 2322 (2020) has been implemented.

P.S. According to the relatives of those killed under torture and convicted in the Terter case, about 2.000 people were arrested and 1.438 people were tortured. I was given the names of 101 people who were tortured. Currently, 78 people are in custody.

 

 

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The trial against 11 individuals in the so-called “Terter case”

The trial against 11 individuals in the so-called “Terter case”

One of the most top-secret and bloody crimes of the Aliyev regime

Turan Ibrahimli
Mushfiq Ahmadli
Nasif Aliyev
Faiq Ahmadov Atabey Rahimov

Analysis of violation of law during the next “Terter case”  judicial proceedings

 

Terter City Military Court

Case №1 (098)-91/2018

14 June 2018

Presiding judge: Ilqar Quliyev

Judges: Ahmad Sariyev, Vidadi Nasirov

The State Prosecutors: Mr. Ismayil Aliyev, the Senior Prosecutor of the Defence of Public Prosecutions Department at the Azerbaijan Republic Military Prosecutor’s Office; Ismail Aliyev, Justice Advisor; Lieutenant-Colonel Javid Jumshudov, the Prosecutor of the Public Defence Prosecutions Department at the Azerbaijan Republic Public Prosecution Office; Nijat Huseynli, a first-rank lawyer of the Azerbaijan Republic Public Prosecution Office

Defendants: Sultan Zeydullayev, Rauf Orujev, Atabey Rahimov, Emin Adilzade, Faiq Ahmadov, Nasif Aliyev, Majid Qasimov, Mushfiq Ahmadli, Alizamin Quliyev, Turan Ibrahimli, Mirpasha Mehdiyev

Defenders: Tofiq Allahverdiyev, Telman Suleymanov, Fuad Iskandarov, Humbat Salahov, Ramiz Abdullayev, Jafar Hajiyev, Zabil Qahramanov, Seymur Zeynalov, Shamsaddin Quliyev, Yusif Seyidov, Islam Teymurov, Fuzuli Nabiyev

Victims: Agasif Safarov, Tehran Alizamanli, Bahaddin Nuruzade, Vasif Mammadaliyev, Aqil Shafiyev, Elmaddin Jafarov, Qurban Ahmadov, Ulvin Talybov, Kamran Humbatov, Shaban Quziyev, Nazir Qudratov, Izzat Suleymanov, Zaur Mammadov, Fariz Farzaliyev, Orkhan Afqanli, Joshqun Abbasov, Nadjmaddin Karimov, Farzali Jakhangirov, Namiq Farkhadov, Elmir Bagirov, Dursun Alili, Elnur Hajiyev, Ramin Isayev, Tahir Mahmudov, Nemat Maharramov, Elshan Quliyev, Aga Shahpelengov, Ibrahim Ibadly, Talat Khankishizade, Nurlan Jabrayilzade, Bakhlul Mammadagazade, Ilkin Julmaliyev, Vusal Ibrahimov, Safarali Nabiyev, Kerim Yaserli, Shariyar Agayev

Representatives of victims: Adalat Hajiyev, Teymur Mammadov, Jamil Hasanov

Legal successor of the victim: Rahib Abbasov

Sultan Zeydullayev, born in 1989, a native of Baku City, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces lieutenant, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 330.3. (Causing easy harm to health of the chief or causing to him injuries in connection with execution of duties by him on military service, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 332.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed entailed to heavy consequences),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions), of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Rauf Orujev, born in 1984, a native of Sumqayit City, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 274. (State betray),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Atabey Rahimov, born in 1994, a native of Lerik District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces lieutenant, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Emin Adilzade, born in 1993, a native of Beylaqan District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 274. (State betray),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Mirpasha Mehdiyev, born in 1995, a native of Agdjabedi District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 228.1. (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation or carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies (except for the smooth-bore hunting weapon and ammunition to it), explosives),
• 274. (State betray),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Faiq Ahmadov, born in 1990, a native of Neftchala District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 120.2.1. (Deliberate murder, committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community (organization);
• 120.2.4. (Deliberate murder, committed with special cruelty or in publicly dangers way);
• 120.2.12. (Deliberate murder, committed on motive of national, racial, religious hatred or enmity);
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. ((Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Nasif Aliyev, born in 1993, a native of Baku City, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Majid Qasimov, born in 1987, a native of Qazakh District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 332.2.1. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed repeatedly),
• 332.2.2. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed two or more persons),
• 332.2.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or by organized group),
• 332.2.4. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed with application of a weapon),
• 332.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed entailed to heavy consequences),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Mushfiq Ahmadli, born in 1990, a native of Barda City, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 329.3. (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Alizamin Quliyev, born in 1990, a native of Terter District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 274. (State betray) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Turan Ibrahimli, born in 1998, a native of Ismayilli District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:
• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 151. (Coercion into actions of sexual nature),
• 274. (State betray),
• 331.2. (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
• 331.3. (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
• 332.2.1. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed repeatedly),
• 332.2.2. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed two or more persons),
• 332.2.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or by organized group),
• 332.2.4. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed with application of a weapon),
• 332.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed entailed to heavy consequences),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat),
• 349.2.1. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
• 349.2.2. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed by group of persons),
• 349.2.3. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, entailed to heavy consequences),
• 349.2.4. (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Sultan Zeydullayev

On May 2017, Sultan Zeydullayev was detained. On 3 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.
According to the investigation, on 26 April 2013, Sultan Zeydullayev, while serving as a company commander of a military unit on the territory of the Agdam District, being in the rank of lieutenant, established a secret connection with some members of the illegal armed groups and Special Services of the Republic of Armenia. He attracted other military men under his authority to this cooperation and also turned over the commanding officers to the Armenian military in order to commit sexual violent acts against them. In addition, he enabled the enemy to enter and leave the combat positions freely. S. Zeydullayev also set up conditions for the gathering and transferring of secret information for the benefit of the Armenian military by undertaking upon himself obligations of the criminal group active member.

In 2013-2017, within the framework of secret cooperation with the Armenian Armed Forces and special services, S. Zeydullayev conveyed to them secret information constituting military secrets. On 25 August 2016, S. Zeydullayev attacked and beat the soldier Qurban Ahmadov, who was under his command.

In September 2016, Zeydullayev lured a Lt. Atabey Rahimov to the Armenian territory where there were the Armenian soldiers in masks and black clothes. He turned the lieutenant over to those three Armenians, who, in their turn, committed violent acts of sexual nature (sodomy) against A. Rahimov in order to make him dependent on them and force him to cooperate with them. On 9 September 2016, S. Zeydullayev beat severely the soldiers Elchin Namazov and Elvin Talybov. In October-November 2016, he also beat the soldier Agasif Safarov.

On 4 August 2017, Sultan Zeydullayev was examined by a forensic medical expert, who did not find any injuries on his body. The examination also established that no typical lesions had been found on the military man’s anus. However, the expert pointed out that recurrent intercourse through the anus might not leave any distinctive lesions. Thus, whether or not there was intercourse is to be determined by the investigation.

On 3 November 2017, another forensic medical examination concerning S. Zeydullayev was carried out; as a result, it determined that there were no injuries, anomalies, or diseases on his genitals that would have prevented sexual intercourse.

On 23 May 2018, in connection with his torture, there was appointed a new forensic medical examination. That time the examination revealed the absence of the 6th and 7th teeth on the left lower jaw, as well as the defect of the upper portion of the 1st tooth on the upper jaw. Due to the lack of medical records, it was impossible to determine a cause of the damage, since a certain amount of time had already elapsed. The examination also failed to establish that the above injuries occurred as of May 2017. To establish the nature, origin, cause of occurrence, and timing of the stains found on the chest as on its upper and lower areas was not possible by the expert examination. The forensic examination experts stated that it was impractical to take blood samples for the presence of any chemical substance after the lapse of time (since May 2017).

On 6 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that S. Zeydullayev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

Sultan Zeydullayev did not plead guilty to the charges during the court hearing. He testified that he had been a Company Commander since 26 April 2013, and was appointed a Senior Company Commander in the rank of Lieutenant since 26 April 2016. On 4 May 2017, he was interrogated by the military command authorities regarding his secret connection with the Armenian special services. He said that he had not collaborated with the Armenian special services, but he had not been believed and the command authorities ordered ten unknown intelligence officers covered with masks on their heads to interrogate him. Those men tortured him demanding him to confirm his secrete cooperation and reveal the names of those who had cooperated along with him. Sultan Zeydullayev, unable to withstand the torture, deliberately named random officers and confessed that he had given out secret information to the Armenian side, but in reality he had never cooperated with Armenians and never witnessed the cooperation of any of the military personnel of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

Rauf Orujev

On May 2017, Rauf Orujev was detained. On 8 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, R. Orujev, having been engaged in criminal collusion with the military of the Armenian Armed Forces and Special Services, executed their instructions, engaging other military personnel of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces to cooperate. Orujev has repeatedly committed sexual assaults against soldiers and involved them in collaboration with the enemy on the territory of Agdam district starting from 25 April 2013.

In the period when S. Zeydullayev was the company commander, on 18 April 2017, R. Orujev announced over the mobile phone that he had noticed the distribution of notices related to violation of the confidential character of the company. S. Zeydullayev was instructed to disarm R. Orujev. S. Zeydullayev made R. Orujev dependent by involving him in criminal activity. As part of his collaboration with the enemy, R. Orujev also transferred to the Armenian military the classified information constituting military secrets. Rauf Orujev was promised to pay a certain amount of money for his cooperation.

During the confrontation between R. Orujev and S. Zeydullayev on 20 May and 16 August 2017, as well as at the trial, R. Orujev confirmed that S. Zeydullayev deceived and lured him to the other territory where he sexually assaulted him in April 2017, and then turned him in to the Armenian military.

In the course of the forensic medical examination performed on 7 June 2017, there were no detected any visible injuries on R. Orujev’s body, according to the written conclusion. But the expertise found lesions in R. Orujev’s anus, typical for sexual intercourse between men. The time of the injuries could not be determined. Findings of the forensic medical examination from 23 June 2017, once again confirmed the presence of characteristic lesions in R. Orujev’s anal orifice.

On 6 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that R. Orujev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

In the course of the trial, Rauf Orujev pleaded guilty to the charges and testified that his earlier testimony concerning the torture was false. His testimony about torture and violent actions was influenced by the statements of S. Zeydullayev, A. Rahimov, E. Adilzade, F. Ahmadov, N. Aliyev and M. Ahmadli. No one used torture and other violent actions against him throughout the investigation.

Atabey Rahimov

On May 2017, Atabey Orujev was detained. On 15 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, A. Rahimov caused great damage to the health of the victims, using violence against them, exploited their state of helplessness, committed violent acts of a sexual nature (sodomy), forced the victims to commit sodomy and other acts of a sexual nature. A. Rahimov, being a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, deliberately went over to the side of the Armenian Armed Forces, provided the Armenian military with the information constituting a military secret, thereby causing damage to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan.

On 26 August 2017, during a confrontation between the accused Mirpasha Mehdiyev and Atabey Rahimov, M. Mehdiyev confirmed that A. Rahimov had turned him in to the Armenian military.

On 20 May 2017, during a confrontation between the accused Sultan Zeydullayev and Atabey Rahimov, both defendants accused each other.

On 12 May 2017, following a forensic examination, it was determined that A. Rahimov’s anus had been injured in a manner typical for lesions inflicted by the male genital organ’s insertion. The same was confirmed by the forensic examination on 23 June 2017.

On 23 May 2018, the forensic medical examination found a single pigmented stain on the upper left side of the elbow, the nature, origin, time, and cause of occurrence were not established. Therefore, the expert could not provide his professional opinion on the matter.

On 23 September 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric examinations revealed that A. Rahimov hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.
On 11 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychological examinations revealed that A. Rahimov hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

An additional forensic medical examination, dated 20 October 2017, did not detect any disease of the immunodeficiency virus, and established that A. Rahimov’s genitals had no abnormalities or anomalies.

During the investigation, Atabey Rahimov did not plead guilty to the charges and testified that he had been appointed to the position of the Brigade Commander since 2 July 2016. Due to the fact that he was subjected to the physical assault, torture, he made a confession in the course of the investigation, but what he confessed was not true.

Emin Adilzade

On May 2017, Emin Adilzade was detained. On 3 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, E. Adilzade, being a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, deliberately defected to the side of the Armenian Armed Forces at the expense of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence of Azerbaijan. He conveyed the information constituting a military secret to the Armenian military, committed treason against the state by his hostile activities, as well as insulted, beat and tortured his subordinates, thereby exceeding the boundaries of his authority.

On 5 June and 26 October 2017, E. Adilzade confirmed his testimony during the preliminary investigation.

On 20 May 2017, both defendants, Faiq Ahmadov and Emin Adilzade, made incriminating statements about each other during a face-to-face confrontation.

The forensic medical examination in respect of E. Adilzade determined that there had not been any injuries on his body. It was conducted on 3 May 2017. As a result of the examination of E. Adilzade’s anus, there were detected signs typical for the male genital organ insertion.

The forensic medical examination in respect of E. Adilzade determined on 23 May 2018, that he had had pigment spots on his body, but their origin, nature, cause and time of occurrence had not been determined.

On 6 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that E. Adilzade hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

At the trial, Emin Adilzade partially pleaded guilty to the commission of offenses under the Articles 331.2, 331.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Azerbaijan Republic Criminal Code, and testified that, while in the Terter district, he had given false testimony subjected to torture.

He also testified that he had no knowledge of the reasons why F. Ahmadov had testified against him. At the trial, Emin Adilzade said that he had not turned F. Ahmadov over to the Armenian soldiers, and they, in turn, had not committed any violent sexual acts against him.

Faiq Ahmadov

On May 2017, Faiq Ahmadov was detained. On 3 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, F. Ahmadov was involved in a criminal conspiracy with the Armenian personnel to eliminate the Azerbaijani soldiers; he passed them the information classified as a military secret. F. Ahmadov also caused harm to the health of victims taking advantage of their helpless condition. As a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, he deliberately defied the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence security of Azerbaijan by crossing over to the Armenian Armed Forces.

The forensic medical examination in respect of F. Ahmadov determined that there have not been any injuries on his body. It was conducted on 3 May 2017. However, there were found injuries on F. Ahmadov’s anus, which are characteristic of the male reproductive organ penetration.

On 23 May 2018, a forensic medical examination found some pigment spots and scars on his right thigh, but their origin, cause, and time of occurrence could not be determined over time.

On 6 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that F. Ahmadov hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

In the course of the trial, Faiq Ahmadov did not plead guilty to the charges and indicated that he had been appointed a Brigade Commander at the rank of Lieutenant in the Agdam District since 23 April 2013. On 1 May 2017, the High Command questioned F. Ahmadov with regard to his cooperation with the Armenian Special Services, but he had replied by saying that no such thing had taken place. At that time, he was not believed. Then, some unidentified intelligence officers covered with black masks tortured him forcing to admit their cooperation and revealed their names of the soldiers. Not being able to stand the torture, he was forced to deliver the evidence they required. However, Faiq Ahmadov testified that he had never cooperated with the Armenian Special Services and had not witnessed the cooperation of other Azerbaijani military personnel.

Nasif Aliyev

On May 2017, Nasif Aliyev was detained. On 8 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, in order to destroy the Azerbaijani military, Nasif Aliyev colluded with the Armenian military and passed them information constituting a military secret. Being a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, he intentionally sided with the Armenian armed forces to the prejudice of sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan. N. Aliyev also caused harm to the health of the victims, taking advantage of their helpless state by committing sodomy and other violent acts of a sexual nature against them, as well as by insulting, beating and torturing his subordinates.

On 3 May 2017, a forensic medical examination in respect of N. Aliyev found no injuries on his body. In mean time, the examination revealed the injuries on N. Aliyev’s anus typical for the penetration of a male genital organ. On 23 May 2018, a forensic medical examination also proved that fact and also found the presence of pigment spots on his chest, however, their origin, cause and time of occurrence had not been established.

On 21 September 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric examinations revealed that N. Aliyev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 13 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychological examinations revealed that N. Aliyev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

At the trial, Nasif Aliyev did not plead guilty to the charges and said that he had become acquainted with Faiq Ahmadov, Majid Qasimov, Elkhan Agazade, Mehman Huseynov, Mushfiq Ahmadli, Turan Ibrahimli and others through his service. He testified that he had not witnessed any of the servicemen cooperating with the Armenian Special Services.

Majid Qasimov

On May 2017, Majid Qasimov was detained. On 8 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, Majid Qasimov colluded with the Armenian military in order to eliminate the Azerbaijani soldiers and passed them information constituting a military secret. He, as a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, deliberately took the side of the Armenian armed forces to the prejudice of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan. M. Qasimov also caused harm to the victims’ health taking advantage of their helpless state, committing sodomy and other violent acts of a sexual nature against them.

A forensic medical examination in respect of M. Qasimov, on 3 May 2017, found that there were injuries on his anal orifice typical for a male genital organ penetration. On 23 May 2017, the forensic examination panel confirmed that fact.

In the course of the court hearing, Majid Qasimov did not plead guilty to the charges. However, later at the trial. he admitted his guilt, repented of what he had done and confirmed the testimony provided at the preliminary investigation.

Mushfiq Ahmadli

On May 2017, Atabey Orujev was detained. On 18 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, Mushfiq Ahmadli, in order to eliminate the Azerbaijani soldiers, colluded with the Armenian military, handed over to them the information constituting a military secret. Being a citizen of the Azerbaijani Republic, he deliberately passed to the side of the Armenian Armed Forces to the prejudice of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan. M. Qasimov also caused injuries to the victims taking advantage of their helpless state he committed sodomy and other violent acts of a sexual nature against them.

On 3 May 2017, a forensic medical examination in respect of M. Ahmadli found some injuries on his anus indicating the penetration of the male genitals, although the timing of the injuries had not been established. According to M. Ahmadli, the Armenian soldiers inflicted those injuries on him in April 2017. On 23 May 2017, a forensic medical examination confirmed that fact.

At the hearing, Mushfiq Ahmadli did not plead guilty to the charges, however later at the trial, he fully admitted his guilt, repented of what he had done and confirmed the testimony he had provided at the preliminary investigation.

Alizamin Quliyev

On May 2017, Atabey Orujev was detained. On 8 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody.

According to the investigation, Alizamin Guliyev, in order to eliminate the Azerbaijani soldiers, was in a criminal arrangement with the Armenian soldiers, passed them the information constituting a military secret. He, as a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, deliberately took the side of the Armenian Armed Forces to the prejudice of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and national defence capacity of Azerbaijan.

On 3 May 3, 2017, a forensic medical examination found no injuries on Quliev’s body. The experts though detected some injuries on his anus that were typical for the penetration of male genitals, however, the time occurrence of those injuries had not been determined.

On 18 August 2017, and 23 May 2018, both the commission forensic examination and the additional forensic examination did not find any injuries on A. Quliyev’s body, or on his anal orifice.

On 20 September 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric examinations revealed that A. Quliyev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 20 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychological examinations revealed that A. Quliyev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

Despite the fact that at the beginning of the court hearing Alizamin Quliyev did not plead guilty to the charge under the Article 274 of the Azerbaijan Republic Criminal Code, later in the course of the trial he pleaded guilty, repented of what he had done and confirmed the evidence he had provided at the preliminary investigation.

Turan Ibrahimli

On May 2017, Turan Ibrahimli was detained. On 7 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody to 4 months.

According to the investigation, in order to destroy the Azerbaijani military positions, Turan Ibrahimli colluded with the Armenian servicemen and transferred to them the information constituting a military secret. Being a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, he deliberately took the side of the Armenian Armed Forces to the prejudice of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan. T. Ibrahimli also caused harm to the victims’ health by taking advantage of their helpless stat he committed sodomy and other violent acts of a sexual nature against them, and also insulted, beat and tortured his subordinates.

On 3 May 2017, a forensic medical examination found no injuries on T. Ibrahimli’s body. Though the forensic examination determined that there had been injuries on his anus typical for male genital penetration but the time of the inflicted injuries had not been determined.

The forensic examination, conducted on 23 May 2018, did not find any bodily injury either; but they found some pigmentation spot on his leg, the origin, time and cause of which was unknown. In the course of this examination, it was also established that the occurred injuries on the anus hadn’t been caused with a glass bottle, but by the

On 10 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that T.Ibrahimli hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

In the course of the trial, Turan Ibrahimli did not plead guilty to the charges, but later he did, repented of what he had done and confirmed the testimony he had given at the preliminary investigation.

Mirpasha Mehdiyev

On May 2017, Turan Ibrahimli was detained. On 16 May 2017 by a court order against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody to 4 months.
According to the investigation, Mirpasha Mehdiyev colluded with the Armenian servicemen in order to eliminate the Azerbaijani military and passed them the information constituting a military secret. Being a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, he deliberately took the side of the Armenian Armed Forces to the prejudice of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security and defence capacity of Azerbaijan. M. Mehdiyev also caused harm to the health of the victims taking advantage of their helpless state, he committed sodomy and other violent acts of a sexual nature against them, also he insulted, beat and tortured his subordinates.

On 12 May 2017, a forensic medical examination concluded that there had been no injuries on M. Mehdiyev’s body. The forensic examination though, found that there had been injuries on his anus typical for penetration of the male genitals. On 23 May 2018, a forensic medical examination conducted by the commission found no bodily injuries either.

On 2 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric examinations revealed that M. Mehdiyev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 16 October 2017, a forensic psychological examination established certain psychological signs characteristic for M. Mehdiyev: adaptability, plasticity, sociability, disrespect for himself.

At the trial, M. Mehdiyev did not plead guilty to the charges, but later he fully admitted his guilt, repented of what he had done and confirmed the testimony he had provided at the preliminary investigation.

The court, having considered the criminal case in private, issued a verdict:

• Sultan Zeydullayev was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 20-year imprisonment. According to the verdict, S. Zeydullayev must spend the first 5 years in the Gobustan closed prison, and the rest of his imprisonment in a high-security institution;
• Rauf Orujev was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 7-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Atabey Rahimov was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 20-year imprisonment. According to the verdict, A. Rahimov must spend the first 5 years in the Gobustan closed prison, and the rest of his imprisonment in a high-security institution;
• Emin Adilzade was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 16-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Faiq Ahmadov was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 20-year imprisonment. According to the verdict, A. Rahimov must spend the first 5 years in the Gobustan closed prison, and the rest of his imprisonment in a high-security institution;
• Nasif Aliyev was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 20-year imprisonment. According to the verdict, A. Rahimov must spend the first 5 years in the Gobustan closed prison, and the rest of his imprisonment in a high-security institution;
• Majid Qasimov was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 10-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Mushfiq Ahmadli was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 16-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Alizamin Quliyev was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 7-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Turan Ibrahimli was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 9-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.
• Mirpasha Mehdiyev was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a 8-year prison term. According to the verdict, he must serve his sentence in a high-security institution.

Commentary by expert lawyer:

A court decision is illegal and unjustified. There are tasks of criminal proceedings listed in the Article 9 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic:
• to establish rules as a basis for criminal prosecution;
• to ensure a defence against restrictions on human and civil rights and liberties;
• to determine the legality and grounds of every criminal prosecution.

The bodies conducting criminal proceedings are obliged to ensure the observance of constitutionally enshrined human and civil rights and freedoms for all persons participating in criminal proceedings (Article 12.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic).
The Article 13.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic binds the state bodies to observe the principle of respect for a person’s honour and dignity. It shall be prohibited to take decisions or allow acts during the criminal prosecution which debase the honour and dignity of the person or may threaten the life and health of the participants in the proceedings.
According to the Article 13.2. of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic, during a criminal prosecution nobody shall:

• be subjected to treatment or punishment that debases human dignity;
• be held in conditions that debase human dignity;
• be forced to participate in carrying out procedures that debase human dignity.

The defendants repeatedly claimed the use of torture and inhuman treatment by the investigating body. The court was skeptical about the defendants’ testimony without exception in all cases and considered the testimonies provided at trial to be of a defensive nature. The court paid no attention to these testimonies and referred only to the results of the examination conducted a year later after the preliminary investigation. By that time the signs of beatings had already disappeared. The defendants were forced through torture to testify against themselves.
According to the Article 66 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic, nobody may be forced to testify against him/herself, wife (husband), children, parents, brother, sister. Complete list of relations against whom testifying is not obligatory is specified by law.

The prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment is regulated by the International Norms. According to the Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

According to the Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
As it can be seen from the dispositions of the above articles, there are no exceptions in any of them. According to the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), it is prohibited to use torture, ill-treatment and cruelty even in the fight against terrorism, the Mafia, and in times of war.
“The Article 3 (…) is to protect one of the basic values of a democratic society. Even in the most difficult circumstances, such as the fight against terrorism and organized crime, the Convention categorically prohibits torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Unlike most Articles of the Convention and Protocols Nos. 1 and 4, the Article 3 does not provide any exception and under the Article 15 para. 2 there can be no derogation from the Article 3 even in a case of emergency threatening the existence of the nation” (judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Aksoy v. Turkey of 18 December 1996 – https://www.dipublico.org/1563/case-of-aksoy-v-turkey-application-no-2198793-european-court-of-human-rights/).

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Mandela Rules, named after South African President Nelson Mandela) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 2015. Under Rule 1, all prisoners are to be treated with respect because of their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, all prisoners shall be protected from it, and no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification. The safety and security of prisoners, staff, service providers and visitors shall be ensured at all times.

The decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Selcuk and Asker v. Turkey on 24 April 1998, states: “The Court recalls that for ill-treatment to constitute a violation of Article 3, it must attain a minimum level of severity. The assessment of this minimum level is inherently relative; it depends on all the circumstances of the case, in particular its duration, its impact on the physical or mental condition and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of health of the victim affected by such treatment.” –
file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/001-58162.pdf
The UN Human Rights Committee decision in the case of Prashantoj Kumar Pandeyem v. Nepal on 30 October 2018 stated: “The Committee reiterates that persons deprived of their liberty may not be subjected to any hardship or suffering other than that which results from the deprivation of liberty and that they must be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity.” – file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/G1835144.pdf

The commented sentence does not provide any statutory basis. Furthermore, the length of the sentenced terms of the defendants in the verdict is not justified. The evidentiary basis is insufficient for a conviction. All the witnesses and victims were members of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

The experts who provided forensic expertise are employees of the Forensic Center. The Center is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice of the Azerbaijan Republic. It is well known that the judicial system in Azerbaijan is not separated from the Executive and depends on it.

Moreover, according to the law, the forensic results are not sufficient evidence for the court. They must be supported by other incontrovertible evidences and considered in conjunction as a whole. The verdict lacked motivation. All doubts that arose in the course of the trial were not treated in favor of the defendants by the court. The court played the role of the prosecutor.

The commented verdict was rendered without complying with the legal Norms of National and International Laws, and therefore is unlawful and unreasonable.

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The trial against four individuals in the so-called “Terter case”

The trial against four individuals in the so-called “Terter case”

One of the most top-secret and bloody crimes of the Aliyev regime

 

 Vagif Aliyev Nusrat Qurbanov

Analysis of violation of law during “Terter case” judicial proceedings

Ganja City Military Court

Case № 1-1 (095)-115/2018

8 October 2018

Presiding judge: Vugar Mammadov  

Judges: Vidadi Nasirov, Salman Huseynov

Defendants: Vagif Aliyev, Nusrat Qurbanov, Suleyman Hajiyev, Seymur Hasanov

Defendants: Vagif Aliyev, Nusrat Qurbanov, Suleyman Hajiyev, Seymur Hasanov

Defenders: Tunzalya Valiyeva, Jafar Hajiyev, Ramiz Abdullayev, Khalida Isayeva

The State Prosecutor: Javid Jumshudov, the Prosecutor of the Public Prosecution Department of the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic

 

Victims: Elkhan Niftaliyev, Murad Mammadzade, Agasamid Muradov, Adil Nasirov, Rovshan Agayev, Pasha Ordukhanov, Mushfiq Eyvazov, Farid Jabrayilli

 

Suleyman Hajiyev, born in 1997, a native of Agdjabedi District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:

• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 150.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 274. (State betray),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
· 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Seymur Hasanov, born in 1997, a native of Barda district, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:

• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
• 29, 150.1 (Attempt to commit violent acts of a sexual nature),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 182.2.1. (Extortion, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons),
• 182.2.2. (Extortion, committed repeatedly),
• 228.2.1. (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies, explosives, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons),
• 274. (State betray)
• 332.2.1. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed repeatedly),
• 332.2.2. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed concerning two or more persons),
• 332.2.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or by organized group),
• 332.2.4. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed with application of a weapon),
• 332.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed entailed to heavy consequences),
• 333.6. (Autocratic leaving of military unit or place of service committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 32.5, 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Vagif Aliyev, born in 1997, a native of Baku City, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces soldier, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:

• 29, 150.1 (Attempt to commit violent acts of a sexual nature),
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 150.2.5. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, committed repeatedly),
• 182.2.1. (Extortion, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons),
• 182.2.2. (Extortion, committed repeatedly),
• 182.2.3. (Extortion, committed with application of violence),
• 274. (State betray),
• 332.2.1. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed repeatedly),
• 332.2.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or by organized group),
• 332.2.4. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed with application of a weapon),
• 332.3. (Infringement of authorized rules on mutual relation between military men at absence of subordination relations, committed entailed to heavy consequences),
• 338.2. (The same act which harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
• 32.5, 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Nusrat Qurbanov, born in 1993, a native of Agstafa District, an Azerbaijani Armed Forces junior sergeant, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles:

• 134. (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health)
• 150.2.1. (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
• 150.2.4. (Buggery actions of sexual nature, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
• 228.2.1. (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies, explosives, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons),
• 228.2.2 (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies, explosives, committed repeatedly),
• 232.2.2. (Plunder or extortion of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies or explosives, committed repeatedly),
• 232.2.3. (Plunder or extortion of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies or explosives, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons),
• 274. (State betray),
• 338.1. (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
• 32.5, 341.3 (Complicity in abuse of authority or official position committed in wartime or during combat) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Suleyman Hajiyev

On 10 June 2017, Suleyman Hajiyev was detained by a court order, against him it was chosen a preventive measure in the form of custody. According to the investigation, in May 2017, some Armenian Armed Forces and Intelligence Services representatives, along with the Azerbaijani Armed Forces servicemen, Suleyman Hajiyev and Vagif Aliyev, committed sexual assaults against the junior sergeant Nusrat Qurbanov. It has been video footage capturing those violations. By blackmailing three Azerbaijani servicemen with the publication of those videos on social networks, the Armenians forced the Azerbaijani servicemen for cooperation.

Moreover, the indictment stated that Suleyman Hajiyev had passed information comprising military secrets to the Armenian side.

On 10 June 2017, a forensic medical examination was conducted with regard to Suleyman Hajiyev, which revealed no traces of bodily injuries. In the course of the examination, the typical injuries on S. Hajiyev’s anus testifying evidence of sexual violence were found. On 25 June 2017, as a result of the second forensic examination, it was concluded that S. Hajiyev had not suffered from any venereal disease or immunodeficiency virus.

On 12 June 2017, Suleyman Hajiyev pleaded guilty during the preliminary investigation. However, in the course of the trial he did not plead guilty under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 274, 332.3, 338.2 of the AR Criminal Code, and testified that he had pleaded guilty only under the Article 338.1 (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state)
of the AR Criminal Code as he had fallen asleep at the guard post when the Lt. Huseyn Akbarli found him sleeping at 3 AM at the post. While answering the prosecution and defence parties’ questions at the trial, Suleyman Hajiyev said that he had had no contact with the enemy side throughout his service and he had not handed over Seymur Hasanov to the Armenian soldiers. Suleiman Hajiyev also testified that he had been subjected to torture by the investigating body and forced to provide false confessions under the torture on 12 June 2017.

Seymur Hasanov

Seymur Hasanov was detained on 10 June 2017. According to a court order, a measure of restraint in the form of detention was applied to Mr. Hasanov. The investigators believed that Seymur Hasanov colluded with the Armenian Intelligence officers from mid-April to mid-May 2017, and committed violent acts of a sexual nature against the Azerbaijani soldiers; he had also provided the Armenian side with the Azerbaijani military secrets, thereby inflicting damage to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic.

According to the investigation, the soldier Suleyman Hajiyev escorted Seymur Hasanov to the toilet where he put a gun to Seymur’s head. At that moment, three men dressed in black, the soldiers of the Armenian army, whose identities have not been established, approached Hasanov and led him blindfolded to a neutral territory. There, Seymur Hasanov saw about 10 Armenian soldiers, one of whom committed violent acts of a sexual nature against S. Hasanov. The violence was captured on video. He was threatened with the distribution of the video on social networks, after which he agreed to cooperate with the Armenian Intelligence services. Seymur Hasanov was assigned to engage other Azerbaijani soldiers for cooperation. He managed to do it. The same way, the soldier Vagif Aliyev was involved in cooperation with the Armenians.

On 10 June 2017, Seymur Hasanov was undergoing a forensic medical examination, as a result of which, it was not found any injuries on Hasanov’s body. But in the course of the examination, it was determined that S. Hasanov’s anus revealed distinctive injuries indicating sexual assault.

A second forensic medical examination conducted on July 20, 2017, did not determine either any skin and venereal diseases or immunodeficiency virus on Hasanov’s body.

At the trial, Seymur Hasanov did not plead guilty to the crimes under the Articles 134, 29,150.1, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 182.2.1, 182.2.2, 182.2.3, 228.2.1, 274, 332.2.1, 332.2.2, 332.2.3, 332.2.4, 332.3, 333.6, 338.2 and 341 of the Criminal Code. S. Hasanov just pleaded guilty to committing the deed under the Article 338.1. of the AR Criminal Code. He testified that he had fallen asleep at the post in April 2017 and had been awakened by mad dogs that he had been forced to kill with his own weapon. He did not plead to the rest of the charges.

At the court interrogation, Seymur Hasanov testified that he was subjected to violence by the investigating officers during the preliminary investigation; he had been severely beaten following which he admitted guilt on 12 June 2017.

Vagif Aliyev

Vagif Aliyev was detained on 7 June 2017. According to a court order, he was placed in custody as a preventive measure. According to the investigation, V. Aliyev entered into a criminal conspiracy with the Intelligence officers and soldiers of the Armenian Armed Forces from mid-April to mid-May 2017. He made a commitment to engage other soldiers as collaborators. V. Aliyev also transmitted information constituting the military secrets to the Armenian Special services, thereby harming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic.

In May 2017, the commander ordered Vagif Aliyev along with Seymur Hasanov to a combat post to cut grass. S. Hasanov, who had already been cooperating with the Armenian Special Services, handed V. Aliyev over to the enemy. S. Hasanov tricked V. Aliyev into the neutral ground, then he pressured V. Aliyev to surrender his weapons, but V. Aliyev refused to do so. S. Hasanov forcefully took away V. Aliyev’s weapon and made him go further. On neutral territory, Seymur Hasanov pointed a gun at Vagif Aliyev and said that if Aliyev would not collaborate with the Armenian Services, he would kill him and all members of Vagif’s family. V. Aliyev agreed.

С. Hasanov and V. Aliyev left the combat post and went to the territory located near the enemy’s posts. There, S. Hasanov surrendered V. Aliyev to four Armenian soldiers. In order to break V. Aliyev’s will, Armenian soldiers pushed him down on the ground, pointed weapons at him and threatened to rape his sister and kill all members of his family. One of the Armenian soldiers raped V. Aliyev in his mouth. It was videotaped. V. Aliyev was told that if he was not going to cooperate with the Armenian Special Services, the video would be spread on social networks. В. Aliyev agreed to, and provided the Armenian side with the information constituting a military secret causing thereby damage to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic.

On 10 June 2017, in relation to Vagif Aliyev, it was carried out a forensic medical examination, which did not detect any lesions on V. Aliyev’s body.

The second forensic medical examination on 21 July 2017, found neither pathologies on the male genitals, nor skin, venereal diseases nor immunodeficiency virus.

At the trial, Vagif Aliyev did not plead guilty to the crimes under the Articles 29,150.1, 150.2.1, 150.2.5, 182.2.1, 182.2.2, 182.2.3, 274, 332.2.1, 332.2.2, 332.2.3, 332.2.4, 332.3, 333.6, 338.2 and 341 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. He pleaded guilty to committing an offence under the Article 338.1 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and testified that he had fallen asleep while on combat duty in April 2017, but, in May 2017, he did not commit the crimes incriminated against him.

At the interrogation in the course of the judicial investigation, V. Aliyev testified that he had been subjected to forced actions by the investigating officers; a taser had been applied to his legs, after such a torture he was forced to testify against himself on 9 June 2017.

Nusrat Qurbanov

Nusrat Qurbanov was detained on 7 June 2017. The court ordered a preventive measure in the form of custody. According to the investigation, Nusrat Qurbanov entered into criminal agreement with the employees of the Armenian Special Services and Armed Forces. In May 2017, the soldiers Seymur Hasanov and Vagif Aliyev decided to hand him over to the enemy in order to engage him in cooperation with the Armenian Special Services. S. Hasanov and V. Aliyev, being aware of N. Qurbanov’s difficult financial situation, offered him to collaborate with the Armenians for money. Nusrat Qurbanov accepted their offer. He passed the Armenians the military information constituting secrets, therefore damaging the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic.

N. Qurbanov became a member of the criminal group. In May 2017, Seymur Hasanov and Vagif Aliyev took N. Qurbanov to the neutral territory and handed him over to the Armenian soldiers. There, four military men dressed in black, whose identities have not been established by the investigation, picked up Nusrat Qurbanov from S. Hasanov and V. Aliyev. In order to maintain N. Qurbanov in a dependent position, one of the Armenian military committed sexual assault against N. Qurbanov by penetrating into his anus. It were videotaped. The Armenian military paid to S. Hasanov $500 for engaging N. Qurbanov in cooperation.

On 2 July 2017, there was a forensic medical examination carried out on N. Qurbanov, which revealed no injuries on his body. A forensic medical examination conducted on 25 December 2017, concluded that there were not detected any skin, venereal diseases and immunodeficiency virus affecting N. Qurbanov.
At the trial, Nusrat Qurbanov did not plead guilty to the crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 274, 332.2.3, 338.2 and 341 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

He pleaded guilty to committing acts under the Articles 228.2.1, 228.2.2, 232.2.2 and 232.2.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and testified that he had left a few Armenian bullets in his possession but had not informed the Azerbaijani superiors. In April 2017, together with Seymur Hasanov, they put these bullets in a box and buried them in the ground. The aim was to use the bullets against the Armenian military.

When answering questions at the judicial investigation, N. Qurbanov testified that his confession had been obtained by the investigating body through the use of torture on 9 June 2017. He also indicated that he had not committed the incriminated crimes.

In the course of the trial, the following victims were questioned: Rovshan Agayev, Farid Jabrayilli, Pasha Ordukhanov, Agasemid Muradov, Mushfiq Eyvazov, Murad Mammadzade, Aqil Nasirov and Elkhan Niftaliyev. Also witnesses: Khalid Valiyev, Ahmad Ahmadzade, Kamaladdin Hasanli, Elchin Aslanzade, Kamil Aliyev, Fazil Mirzoyev, Jalal Shahverdiyev, Anar Sadiqov, Natiq Israfilov, Aqshin Jafarov, Ismikhan Madatov, Mirsultan Zahidov and Tarlan Mammadov.

Assessment of the court

The court considered the witnesses’ testimonies provided to the prosecution as irrefutable, whereas the testimonies given by the witnesses in defence of the accused were regarded as defensive statements with respect to the fellow servicemen. Thus, the witness, Ismikhan Madatov, did not provide accusatory testimony, and the court assessed his testimony as having the nature of protection, since the accused and Madatov were serving together.

In accordance with the ruling of the Ganja Military Court on 8 October 2018, the State Prosecutor dropped the charges against Vagif Aliyev under the Article 134 of the AR Criminal Code, therefore, the court did not consider the case with regard to that Article.

The State Prosecutor suggested the court to reclassify some Articles incriminated to the accused. In his speech, he demanded: in respect of Seymur Hasanov and Vagif Aliyev, the Articles 150.2.1 and 150.2.4 to the Articles 32.3, 150.2.1, 32.3, 150.2.4 of the AR Criminal Code. In respect of Suleyman Hajiyev, the Articles 150.2.1 to Articles 32.3, 150.2.4 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic; the charges against Suleyman Hajiyev under the Article 150.2.1 – to the Article 32.3,150.2.1 and the Article 150.2.4 to Article 32.3,150.2.4 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic; in respect of Nusrat Qurbanov – the Article 150.2.1 to the Article 32.3,150.2.1 and the Article 150.2.4 to the Article 32.3,150.2.4. The court approved the Prosecutor’s suggestion and reclassified the Articles.

The court pointed out that it takes into account the nature of the criminal offenses, aggravating circumstances, as well as the lack of mitigating evidence in imposing punishment. The Court concluded that the accused must be isolated from the society. In imposing punishment, the Court also considered the impact of the accused punishments on their families.

On 8 October 2018, the Ganja City Military Court issued a verdict against four soldiers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces:

• Suleyman Hajiyev was found guilty of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 32.3,150.2.1, 32.3,150.2.4, 274, 332.3, 338.1 and 338.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. According to the verdict, the first 5 years, he should spend in an indoor prison (in Gobustan), and the rest of the sentence he would be sent to a high-security institution;
• Seymur Hasanov was found guilty of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 29,150.1, 32.3,150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 182.2.1, 182.2.2, 182.2.3, 228.1.1, 274, 332.2.1, 332.2.2, 332.2.3, 332.2.4, 332.3, 333.6, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. According to the verdict, the first 5 years, he should spend in an indoor prison (in Gobustan), and the rest of the sentence he would be sent to a high-security institution;
• Vagif Aliyev was found guilty of committing crimes under the Articles 32.3,150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 182.2.1, 182.2.2, 182.2.3, 274, 332.2.1, 332.2.2, 332.2.3, 332.2.4, 332.3, 333.6, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment. According to the verdict, the first 5 years, he should spend in an indoor prison (in Gobustan), and the rest of the sentence he would be sent to a high-security institution;
• Nusrat Qurbanov was found guilty of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 32.3,150.2.1, 32.3,150.2.4, 228.2.1, 228.2.2, 232.2.2, 232.2.3, 274, 32.5,332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment. According to the verdict, the first 5 years, he should spend in an indoor prison (in Gobustan), and the rest of the sentence he would be sent to a high-security institution;

Commentary by expert lawyer:
A court decision is illegal and unjustified. The evidentiary basis of the criminal case consists of the victims’ and witnesses’ testimonies, a number of forensic medical examinations and various certificates of the State structures. A number of victims and witnesses were servicemen of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The forensic medical examinations were conducted within the same institution that has the right to conduct such examinations, the Center for Forensic Examinations of the AR Ministry of Justice. All the incriminating testimonies of the victims and witnesses were recognized by the Court as irrefutable, although the victims and witnesses, all without exception, were servicemen, who were subordinated to the command, which means that all of them depended on the command. As for the Center for Forensic Examinations, it is the only structure authorized to conduct expertise, the results of which are approved by the local courts. By law, there is no any other entity in the country conducting an independent expertise, the results of which could be approved by the court. As mentioned above, the Center of Forensic Expertise is subordinated by the Ministry of Justice of the Azerbaijan Republic. The testimony of one witness in favor of the accused was regarded by the court as having the nature of protection of his fellow serviceman. That testimony was not taken into account by the court.
Also, the Court did not consider the defendants’ testimonies about the tortures and inhuman treatment they had been subjected to. The Court took into account the testimonies of the defendants given under torture during the investigation period. The Court did not specify in the verdict why they accepted as irrefutable the testimonies given during the pre-trial investigation rather than the testimonies given at the trial.
One of the principles of criminal procedure is the principle of respect for a person’s dignity and honour. According to the Article 13 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

13.1. It shall be prohibited to take decisions or allow acts during the criminal
prosecution which debase the honour and dignity of the person or may threaten the life
and health of the participants in the proceedings.
13.2. During a criminal prosecution nobody shall:
13.2.1. be subjected to treatment or punishment that debases human dignity;
13.2.2. be held in conditions that debase human dignity;
13.2.3. be forced to participate in carrying out procedures that debase human dignity.

The defendants were detained in June 2017, whereas the forensic medical examinations to determine the presence or absence of injuries related to torture claims were conducted only in December 2017. This is a sufficient period of time for disappearing or becoming unnoticeable traces of torture.
Besides, the Court did not explain the reason why the accused pleaded guilty to the charges during the pre-trial investigation, but withdrew their confessions at the trial.

According to the Article 15 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

15.2. During the criminal prosecution the following shall be prohibited:
15.2.1. the use of torture and physical and psychological force, including the use of
medication, withdrawal of food, hypnosis, deprivation of medical aid and the use of
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment;
15.2.2. the imposition of long-term or severe physical pain or acts which are detrimental
to health, or any similar ill-treatment;
15.2.3. taking evidence from victims, suspects or accused persons or from other
participants in the criminal proceedings using violence, threats, deceit or by other
unlawful acts which violate their rights.

The Article 33.4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

Judges and jurors may not regard evidence or other materials unfavourably, or
attach more importance to one piece of evidence or other item than to another, until
they are examined under the statutory procedure.

In the course of the trial, the involvement of each defendant in the criminal activity was not proved. The evidences were oblique and did not indicate the actual perpetration of the criminal deeds by each of the defendants.
According to the Article 124 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

124.1. Reliable evidence (information, documents, other items) obtained by the court or the parties to criminal proceedings shall be considered as prosecution evidence. Such evidence:

124.1.1. shall be obtained in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure, without restriction of constitutional human and civil rights and liberties or with restrictions on the grounds of a court decision (on the basis of the investigator‘s decision in the urgent cases described in this Code);
124.1.2. shall be produced in order to show whether or not the act was a criminal one, whether or not the act committed had the ingredients of an offence, whether or not the act was committed by the accused, whether or not.

In criminal proceedings, it shall be unlawful to accept as evidence any information, documents and things that have been obtained:
· with deprivation or restriction of the rights of the participants in criminal proceedings guaranteed by Law, or in violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of man and citizen as well as other requirements of the present Code, which shall or may affect the validity of this evidence;
· with the use of violence, threat, deception, torture and other cruel, inhuman or dignified actions (Article 125.2, 125.2.1, 125.2.2. of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic).

However, the court paid more attention to the defendants’ testimonies taken in the course of the investigation rather than during the trial. The testimonies received during the investigation match the indictment and are automatically rewritten down from it. The testimonies given before the court are brief and vague.
According to the European Prison Rules, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 12 February 1987, there are fundamental principles of the detention of prisoners. Paragraph 1 of the Rules states, “Deprivation of liberty shall be in conditions of detention and in an atmosphere of morality, which ensure respect for human dignity and are consistent with these Rules.”

According to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules), all prisoners should be treated with respect for their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, all prisoners shall be protected against it, and no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as justification. The safety and security of prisoners, staff, service providers and visitors shall be ensured at all times.

The use of torture and inhuman treatment is also prohibited by the Article 46 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution,

III. Nobody must be subject to tortures and torment, treatment or punishment humiliating the dignity of human beings.

The prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment is regulated by the International Norms. For example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Article 3) prohibits torture. This Article is always in force, even during the fight against the Mafia, organized crime or in times of war.

The absolute nature of the guarantees is strengthened by the fact that actions reproached against the victim, no matter how unacceptable or dangerous they may be, cannot in any way justify any infringement. In short, it is dignity and physical integrity of the individual that this rule sought to protect. In order for mistreatment of a person constitutes a violation of the Article 3, it must meet the minimum level of severity… Thus, if an individual alleges in his defense that he has been subjected to the treatment provided under the norm in question, an effective official investigation must be carried out in order to identify those responsible and punish them. – (Precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, Michele de Salvia, St. Petersburg, 2004).
Torture is also prohibited by the Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
One of the most serious charges brought against the military is the charge of treason, the Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. It is contained in the charges against all four defendants.
State betray, that is deliberately action committed by a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic to detriment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security or defensibility of the Azerbaijan Republic: changeover to enemy side, espionage, distribution of the state secret to foreign state, rendering assistance to a foreign state, foreign organization or their representatives in realization of hostile activity against the Azerbaijan Republic.
In order to comprehend what constitutes state treason, it is necessary to examine the corpus delicti. The subject of high treason is the information that constitutes a state secret.
The objective side consists of high treason that includes the following alternative actions:
– espionage is the collection, transfer, theft or storage of information constituting a state secret in order to transmit it to a foreign state, organization or their representatives, as well as the transfer or gathering of other information on behalf of foreign intelligence for its use to the disadvantage of the country’s national security;
– disclosure of a state secret – the intentional transfer to a foreign state, organization or their representatives of the data protected by the state in the area of its military, foreign policy, economic, intelligence, counterintelligence and investigative activities, the spread of which could harm the security of the country;
– any other assistance to a foreign state, organization or their representatives in carrying out any hostile activities to the disadvantage of the external security of the country – committing any actions that harm the external security of the country, but which do not fall under the concept of the disclosure of state secrets or espionage.
Subjective side is deliberate direct intent.
The subject of the crime is a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic who has reached the age of 16.
As it is shown in the Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, it contains several attributes. The court verdict does not specify what particular attribute occurs in the action of this or that defendant. For instance:
▪ Whether the act was committed at the expense of sovereignty,
▪ Territorial integrity,
▪ National security or
▪ Defence capacity of the Azerbaijan Republic,
▪ Whether there has been a defection to the enemy side,
▪ Espionage,
▪ Release of a State secret to a foreign State,
▪ Assisting a foreign state, organization or their representatives in carrying out hostile activities against the Azerbaijan Republic

What exactly is the guilt of each defendant accused of committing a crime under the Article 274 of the Criminal Code, namely, whether the person committed treason, espionage, or disclosed the State secrets to a foreign State, the sentence does not specify. The verdict is based on all the listed attributes, which raises doubts about the accusations legitimacy.
The verdict states that the accused handed over to the Armenian military the data constituting a military secret. Let us examine what data constitute military secrets according to the law.
In the Article 5.1 of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic “On State Secrets” states:
5.1. The State secrets in the military sector are as follows:
5.1.1. the content of strategic and operational plans, the documents of operational department on preparation and conduct of military operations, strategic, operational and mobilization deployment of the Armed Forces of the Azerbaijan Republic, other armed formations, other troops stipulated by the legislation, their combat and mobilization readiness, creation and use of mobilization resources;
5.1.2. on the plans for the construction of the armed forces and other armed formations provided for in the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic, on directions for the development of armaments and military equipment, on the content and results of the implementation of targeted programmes, and on research and development work to create and modernize the patterns of armaments and military equipment;
5.1.3. the tactical and technical characteristics, and combat capabilities of weapons and military equipment, properties, the formulas or technologies, and production of new types of the military purpose;
5.1.4. the location, designation, degree of readiness, security of the facilities of particular national security and defensibility, their construction and operation, as well as the allocation of land, resources and coastal and offshore areas for these facilities;
5.1.5. the location, the effective renaming, the organizational structure, the number of personnel and their combat support, as well as the military, political or operational situation;
5.1.6. the coordinates of geodetic points and geographical targets of the significant defense and economic importance within the territory of Azerbaijan.
Based on the verdict, it is not clear to whom, how, when and where the confidential information had been transferred, whether the accused possessed the kind of secret information which he allegedly shared with the military personnel of a foreign country, and whether that information was subject to classification, and if so, who ordered its disclosure, etc. There are many questions, but the verdict does not provide any answers. There is no motivated indictment, which is necessary for the verdict to be acknowledged as legitimate and well-founded. The indictments in the verdict are listed by default and consist of formal expressions used in the criminal law.
The right to freedom is a fundamental right in a democratic society. According to the Article 28 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic,

I. Everyone has the right for freedom.
II. Right for freedom might be restricted only as specified by law, by way of detention, arrest or imprisonment.

The right to freedom is one of the fundamental human rights guaranteed also by the international law provisions. According to the Article 5 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights,
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;
(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
(d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;
(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;
(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorized entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
This list of restrictions is exhaustive. The deprivation of liberty must also be lawful, i.e. it must correspond to the purpose provided for by one of the instances on this list. This Article’s essence is the individual’s physical freedom. It enshrines a basic human right, namely, the protection of everyone from arbitrary interference of the State in his right to liberty.
The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms stipulates, in Article 5 (1), that only a reasonable suspicion of a person having committed a criminal offence can justify deprivation of liberty. Therefore, the existence of a reasonable suspicion is an essential element of the protection against arbitrary deprivation of liberty. The existence of a reasonable suspicion presupposes the existence of facts or information that could persuade an objective observer that a person could have committed the offence. What counts as justified depends on the set of circumstances.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also protects the right to freedom. According to the Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

In the case Wloch v. Poland of May 10, 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the paragraph 109, it is said “Apart from the factual aspect, the existence of a ‘reasonable suspicion’ within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (c) is required for the sufficient amount of facts in order to refer to one of the sections of the Criminal Code concerning the criminal conduct. Thus, it is obvious that suspicion is not justified if actions or facts alleged to a prisoner in custody were not constituting an offence at the time they were committed. In the case in question, it must be established whether the detention was “lawful” within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (c) of the Convention. The Convention refers mainly to the National Law, but, moreover, it requires any measure of deprivation of liberty to be compatible with the purpose of Article 5 – protection of the individual against arbitrariness”.
https://www.menschenrechte.ac.at/orig/11_3/Wloch.pdf
https://www.echr.coe.int/documents/guide_art_5_eng.pdf

The absence of the evidence basis for the accusation, insufficient amount of the proofs, lack of the direct and clear-cut evidence against the accused, and the failure of the court considering the criminal case have resulted in the gross violation of the serviceman’s right to freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, and by other national laws, as well as by the norms of the International Law, International Treaties and Practice of the European Court of Human Rights.

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Even for journalists working for a state-run news agency are restricted in their freedom of speech

Even for journalists working for a state-run news agency are restricted in their freedom of speech

Aygun Aliyeva

Analysis of violation of law during Aygun Aliyeva’s judicial proceedings

Baku City Nasimi District Court

Case №2(006)-1158/2021

11 March 2021

Judge:  Natavan Taqiyeva

Plaintiff: Aygun Aliyeva

Plaintiff’s representatives: Teymur Aliyev, Bahruz Bayramov

Plaintiff’s lawyer: Bahruz Bayramov

Defendant: Azerbaijan State News Agency “Azertaj”

Defendant’s representative and attorney: Mazahir Aliyev

The journalist Aygun Aliyeva had worked at the Azerbaijani state news agency ” Azertaj” for 21 years. She was fired on 19 September 2020.

  1. Aliyeva described her dismissal as the following,

“At first, I was told that the State Security Service (SSS) had allegedly filed a complaint against me and initiated a case specifically against me. However, when the SSS denied that information, they said that I had been fired by Vugar Aliyev who worked at the Presidential Administration”.

Aygun Aliyeva also says that besides her and two other employees, 22 employees of the agency are relatives of Ali Hasanov and Ramiz Mehdiyev (Ali Hasanov is the President’s former assistant on social and political issues, Ramiz Mehdiyev is the ex-head of the Presidential Administration).

Aygun Aliyeva had been an editor in charge of news for more than three years, she edited and produced news content. She graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Baku State University, edited news on economic topics, accompanied the president and his wife to official events, and worked as a correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Italy, Serbia, and Montenegro.

The journalist was seeking an answer to the question,

“Why now, have I become an incompetent journalist over the years of work and having such an experience?”

It should be noted that the official reason for her dismissal was Aliyeva’s professional incompetence. The journalist said that the real reason for her discharge was her critical publications in Facebook.

According to her, the problems arose after her posting criticizing the municipalities’ activities. Aygun Aliyeva told the Turan Agency that she wrote the following phrase in connection with the municipal elections on her Facebook page, “Why do I have to go to vote? They haven’t even set up a single trash can”.   After that, she was demanded to write an explanatory letter.

“I replied that even the Head of the State criticizes the municipalities, what’s the big deal here? But I was informed that it was a requirement of the Presidential Administration”. – http://turan.az/ext/news/2021/3/free/Social/en/2501.htm

Aygun Aliyeva revealed that she was also reprimanded at “Azertaj” in connection with her other post. “On 3 August I was told, ” You wrote “I gave birth to two children”, aren’t you ashamed, your behavior does not conform to an Azerbaijani woman’s image”. – http://turan.az/ext/news/2021/3/free/Social/en/2501.htm

She was asked to write a voluntary letter of resignation, but disagreeing to do so, she filed a lawsuit against the “Azertaj” agency.

“If I bring up the fact that the municipality has not placed the garbage container and I complain about it, should I be fired due to that? Right now, in my department, they are saying that I am an oppositionist, urging people to boycott elections. What I really want to say is, a person expressing dissatisfaction about something is not an oppositionist. He is just a citizen,” said Aliyeva.

Aliyeva’s lawyer requested the court to cancel the order of dismissal dated on 19 September  2020, restore her client at work and pay her salary for the months during which she was not allowed working.

On 11 March 2021, the Baku Nasimi District Court dismissed Aygun Aliyeva’s appeal.

 

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. In the judgment, there are listed the defendant’s representative’s and lawyer’s arguments. According to these arguments, Aygun Aliyeva, being on a business trip to Barcelona, doubted the activities of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Spain in the area of national interest protection that she expressed in her statements, also, she “teased” over the decisions of the Operational Staff at the Cabinet of Ministers regarding the pandemic, and opposed these decisions. The court’s decision states that Aliyeva published the posts on Facebook that “violate the journalistic ethics”.

Based on the case records, Aygun Aliyeva was given a warning concerning her FB posts and on 26 April 2019, she wrote an explanatory letter, accepting the remarks about the posts and promising not to repeat this kind of thing again.

The protocol of the “Azertaj” Board meeting on 16 March 2019, states that A. Aliyeva often gets into “verbal altercations,” uses expressions “unacceptable for journalistic ethics,” and tries to evade responsibility in addition to her professional unfitness.

In an explanatory letter dated on 14 January 2020, Aliyeva pointed out that, in connection to her Facebook posts, she had asked for apologies from the “Azertaj” Board Chairman and promised it would not happen again. These posts allegedly contained sarcastic remarks about the Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on 9 February 2020.

In the course of the trial, the defendant’s representative and lawyer also confirmed that A. Aliyeva had published the posts “politically harmful” for the parliamentary elections.

As confirmed by the representative’s and defendant’s lawyer’s testimonies as well as the case materials, the dismissal of the journalist with a 21-year-long work experience took place due to her post, in which she was expressing her own opinion on a social network. In addition, it is also stated in the case materials that Aliyeva repeatedly provided explanations for her criticism, as well as asked the Chairman of the Board for apologies and promised that it would not happen again.

According to the Article 47 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution,

  1. Everyone may enjoy freedom of thought and speech.
  2. Nobody should be forced to promulgate his/her thoughts and convictions or to renounce his/her thoughts and convictions.

The Law of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Article 7 “On Mass Media” states that no censorship is permitted. The social networks are also one of the types of media. It should be noted that A. Aliyeva expressed her opinions on topics that are of great concern to society.

In the case of Aygun Aliyeva, there was a violation of the Article 47 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Article 10 (1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. According to the Article 10 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights,

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

Along with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as by the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Freedom of expression constitutes one of the supporting pillars of a democratic society, a fundamental condition for its progress and the self-fulfillment of each of its members. Freedom of expression encompasses not only “information” or “ideas” that come across favorably or are regarded as innocuous or neutral, but also those that offend, shock or disturb. Such are the demands of pluralism, tolerance and liberalism, without which there is no “democratic society”. Thus, the exceptions to its implementation call for a restrictive interpretation, and any interference must be established in a convincing manner. This is the practice developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in its decisions on violations of the right to freedom of expression.

“This freedom is almost sacred in jurisprudence, and especially in the context of the political nature. A press owns the right to control, on behalf of and at the expense of the citizens, the custom that politicians make of the powers entrusted to them. Therefore, the journalist happens to be vested with a mission representing the public interest, since the right to spread information and ideas, and the public’s right to receive it, are two sides of the same coin” (Precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, Michele de Salvia, St. Petersburg, 2004).

“Freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Article 10 of the Convention, is subject to a number of exceptions, which must, however, be construed narrowly and the necessity of any restriction of which must be convincingly established” (decision of the European Court of Human Rights incase of Sandy Times v. United Kingdom on 26 April 1979). – https://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/1979/1.html

The interference to the journalist’s right to freedom of expression did not have any legitimate purpose and was not essential in a democratic society. The list of restrictions on the right to freedom of expression is very straightforward. The restrictions are listed in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 10 (2).

 

They are as follows:

  1. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as
  • are prescribed by law
  • are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety,
  • for the prevention of disorder or crime,
  • for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others,
  • for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

In this particular case, none of the restrictions took place. The journalist, exercising the right to freedom of expression, published the posts on social networks that were disapproved by the information agency’s management, which was confirmed in the case report. This was the real reason behind the journalist’s dismissal despite her 21-year experience.

The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of Khalid Bagirov v. Azerbaijan (dated on 25 June 2020) said that Khalid Bagirov, as a member of the Azerbaijan Bar Association, spoke about the court verdict at one of the political trials, “In such a state there will be the same court… If there had been justice in Azerbaijan, the judge R.G. would not have given an unfair and biased sentence, sine he would not have worked as a judge to begin with”. For these very expressions, H.Bagirov was expelled from the Bar Association. Having used all domestic legal means of protection, Khalid Bagirov appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

It is written in the paragraph 81 of the ECHR judgment,

“Moreover, the applicant’s comments about the first-instance court may have been offensive, but those comments were mainly a protest against the applicant’s objections to the decisions in the case of Ilqar Mamedov in the criminal proceedings of the local courts. In this connection, the Court draws attention to the fact that when making those statements before the Sheki Court of Appeal, the judgment in the case of Ilqar Mamedov v. Azerbaijan (no. 15172/13, 22 May 2014) had already been issued. The Court established that the Articles 5 and 18 of the Convention had been violated and Ilqar Mamedov’s restriction of freedom had been unjustified in accordance with the Convention. Furthermore, the Court determined that there had been a number of serious omissions in the criminal case against Ilqar Mamedov (see Ilqar Mamedov v. Azerbaijan (no. 2), no. 919/15, 16 November 2017).

It is also stated in the paragraph 82 of the ECHR judgment,

“The Court also notes that attention should be drawn to the use of the expressions made by the Nizami District Court such as “abuse this right (freedom of expression) in order to tarnish our State and our nationhood is absolutely unacceptable”.

The Court considers that the local court’s reasons for terminating the applicant’s legal practice are incompatible with the objectives of the Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and must not be used as a ground for restricting freedom of expression in a Democratic society requiring pluralism, tolerance and open-mindedness.

According to the ECHR ruling on 25 June 2020, the lawyer’s, Khalid Bagirov, right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) was violated.

This case is an indication that whether a case concerned a lawyer or a journalist, they have the right to express their opinion without violating the ethics of these professions. This principle is also true in the case of the Azerbaijan State News Agency “Azertaj” v. Ms. Aygun Aliyeva, an employee of the agency.

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