Category: Courts

Niyamaddin Aslanzade is illegally jailed

NIYAMADDIN ASLANZADE IS ILLEGALLY JAILED

Baku City Narimanov District Court

Analysis of violation of law during Niyamaddin Aslanzade’s judicial proceedings

Baku City Narimanov District Court

Case №3(005)-1905/2021

26 August 2021

Judge: Vusal Qurbanov

Administrative case initiated against: Niyamaddin Aslanzade

Defender: Intiqam Hasanov

Plaintiff: Faiq Suleymanov, the Head of the 18th Police Station in the Baku Narimanov District Police Department

Polad Aslanov, the founder and editor-in-chief of www.xeberman.org and www.press-az.com, was arrested in June 2019 and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on charges of state treason on 16 November 2020.

The information regarding his arrest and the legal analysis of the unjustified sentence is available on the IPD’s website:

https://www.ipd-az.org/journalist-polad-aslanov-was-accused-in-high-treason/

https://www.ipd-az.org/polad-aslanv/ 

But the family’ s troubles didn’t seem to stop at this point. On 26 August 2021, his brother Niyamaddin Aslanzade, born in 1991, suddenly disappeared.  Polad Aslanov’s wife, Gulmira Aslanova, commented on her brother-in-law’ disappearance:

My brother-in-law was told that there was a complaint against him received from the Ombudsman’s Office. A few months ago, when my husband started his hunger strike, Niyamaddin went to the Ombudsman’s Office and expressed anger about the fact that no one seemed interested about his brother’s health. Niyamaddin suffers from a neurosis and could not control his emotions over the injustice against his brother. Later, he apologised for his own emotional outbursts. We also apologised for his behaviour.  On 26 August he disappeared. We could not find out about his whereabouts. We called the MIA’s 102 service. On 27 August his mother was told that Niyamaddin had been detained for 15 days. And today, when I was in the 18th Police Station, they told me that he had been arrested for 5 days, but they did not specify why and under what article. The Court was closed, and we could not obtain a court order.

She also indicated that her brother-in-law’s rights had been violated, as he had not been allowed to call his family upon detention and the lawyer of his choice had not been permitted to see him.

More detailed information about arrest of Niyamaddin Aslanzade see here:

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2021/8/free/Social/en/7209.htm

The administrative report was drawn up according to the Article 510 (Petty hooliganism) of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Azerbaijan Republic. In the course of the trial, Niyamaddin Aslanzade testified that he had been suffering from a nervous breakdown and felt angry because of the lack of any attention to his brother Polad Aslanov who was starving in detention, and therefore spoke harshly to the hotline staff of the Ombudsman’s Office.

On 26 August 2021, the Baku City Narimanov District Court found Niyamaddin Aslanzade guilty of committing an administrative offence and sentenced him to 5 days of detention.

 

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. In this case, attention should be paid to the article on which Niyamaddin Aslanzade was found guilty. The Article 510 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

Disorderly conduct, i.e. behaviour that violates public order but is not accompanied by the use or threat of force against individuals or the destruction or damage of property, is punishable by a fine of between 50 and 100 manats, depending on the circumstances of the case and the identity of the offender; if these measures are not sufficient, then the offender is subject to administrative detention for a period of up to fifteen days.

 

As mentioned above, Niyamaddin Aslanzade called the Ombudsman’s Office hotline and asked why his brother Polad Aslanov’s serious condition was being ignored. The Article on petty hooliganism stipulates actions that violate public order. You can only violate public order in the public places attended by people. A phone call cannot be considered a violation of public order. Consequently, no violation of public order is at issue.

There was no evidence in the case file that Niyamaddin Aslanzade had grossly insulted the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office. The police did not provide either any of that evidence or any proof from the Ombudsman’s Office.

Another important point is the sentencing. The Court sentenced Niyamaddin Aslanzade to 5 days of administrative detention, having completely failed to justify the choice of this type of punishment. The court also failed to justify why Niyamaddin Aslanzade had not been subjected to a measure unrelated to the arrest, for example, a fine.

The groundlessness of the judgment and the incorrect qualification of the act resulted in a violation of the Right to Freedom regulated by the Article 28 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic.

The Right to Freedom is enshrined not only in the Azerbaijani National Legislation but also in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. For example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states in the Article 5 (1):

  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:

(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.

The Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

The Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also prohibits arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention. By proclaiming the Right to Freedom, these articles mean personal liberty in its classical sense, that is, the individual’s physical freedom.

A number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) prohibit arbitrary arrest. For example, the judgment of the European Court in Lawless vs Ireland on 1 July 1961, states:

The purpose of the Convention is ‘to protect freedom’ and security of persons from unlawful arrest and detention.

See: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/app/conversion/pdf/?library=ECHR&id=001-57516&filename=001-57516.pdf&TID=epcmxtpacx

The ECHR judgment in the case of Bozano vs France from December 18,  1986, states:

The Convention refers principally to compliance with the national law but, in addition, requires any measure of deprivation of liberty to be compatible with the objective of the Article 5: to protect the individual against arbitrariness (…). This concerns not only the “right to liberty”, but also the “right to personal integrity.

See: https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-57448

Thus, a State, which is a member of the Council of Europe and is bound by the standards of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, has violated the Right to Freedom and Personal Integrity in the case of Niyamaddin Aslanzade by means of the police and judicial authorities actions.

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No azerbaijani citizens are protected against falsified accusations

NO AZERBAIJANI CITIZENS ARE PROTECTED AGAINST FALSIFIED ACCUSATIONS

Baku Court of Appeal

Analysis of violation of law at the trial of the Azerbaijan citizens accused of terrorist offences

Baku Court of Appeal

Case №1(103)-1112/2021

9 August 2021

Presiding judge: Ilqar Murguzov

Judges: Habil Mammadov, Hasan Ahmadov

 

Defendants: Samir Qurbanov, Amin Hasanov, Aflatun Bayramov, Babak Mammadli, Tehran Qasimov, Elgun Ismayilov, Aladdin Ibishev, Yusif Imanov, Orkhan Qurbanov, Shahriyar Jabbarov, Javid Amanov

Defenders: Babak Hamidov, Elchin Sadiqov, Eynulla Valiyev, Sudaba Aliyeva, Vali Valiyev, Azer Naqiyev 

The Public Prosecutor: Emil Mirzoyev, a prosecutor of the Support Public Prosecution Department at the Courts of Appeal under the AR Prosecutor General’s Office

 

A citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, born in 1988 in the Qazakh district of Azerbaijan, Samir Qurbanov,previously not convicted, against whom a preventive measure of custody had been imposed as of 9 May 2019, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the following Articles of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic:

  • 167-2.2.1 (Production, import with the purpose of sale or distribution, sale or distribution of literature, religious objects and other informational materials of religious content without relevant permission, committed by a group of persons upon a preliminary conspiracy or by an organized group);
  • 167-2.2.2 (Production, import with the purpose of sale or distribution, sale or distribution of literature, religious objects and other informational materials of religious content without relevant permission, committed more than once);
  • 167-3.1 (Manufacture, storage or distribution of religious extremist materials, i.e. materials calling for the implementation of religious extremist activities or justifying such activity, either justifying the need for such activities);
  • 28,214.2.1 (Preparation for terrorism committed by an organized criminal group);
  • 28, 214.2.6 (Preparation of terrorism committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism);
  • 214-1 (Financing of terrorism);
  • 1 (Creation of criminal community (criminal organization) for commitment minor serious or serious crimes);
  • 283-1.1 (Involvement of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan or stateless persons permanently residing in the Republic of Azerbaijan, to armed conflicts outside the Republic of Azerbaijan with a purpose to disseminate religious teachings, under the pretence of performing religious rites, or due to religious animosity, religious radicalism and religious fanaticism or conducting military exercises for this purpose, or creation of stable group for this purpose and management of such group).

Amin Hasanov, born in 1993 in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 9 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-2.2.1, 167-2.2.2, 167-3.1, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.6, 214-1 and 218.2 (Participation in criminal community (criminal organization) or in association of organizers, heads or other representatives of the organized groups) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Aflatun Bayramov, born in 1993 in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 9 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.6 and 218.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Babak Mammadli, born in 1980 in Fuzuli City of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 9 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1, 214-1 and 218.2 (Participation in criminal community (criminal organization) or in association of organizers, heads or other representatives of the organized groups) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Tehran Qasimov, born in 1991 in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 9 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-2.2.1, 167-2.2.2, 167-3.1, 214.1 and 218.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Elgun Ismayilov, born in 1995 in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 8 June 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1, 218.2 and 28,283-1.3 (Involvement of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan or stateless persons permanently residing in the Republic of Azerbaijan, to armed conflicts outside the Republic of Azerbaijan with a purpose to disseminate religious teachings, under the pretence of performing religious rites, or due to religious animosity, religious radicalism and religious fanaticism or conducting military exercises for this purpose, or creation of stable group for this purpose and management of such group) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Aladdin Ibishev, born in 1993 in the Tovuz district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 16 September 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 218.2 and 28,283-1.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Yusif Imanov, born in 1985 in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 10 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1 and 218.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Orkhan Qurbanov, born in 1987 in Baku City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 9 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1 and 218.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Shariyar Jabbarov, born in 1996 in the Khanlar district of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 20 August 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 218.2 and 218-1.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Javad Amanov, born in 1977 in Ali-Bayramly City (today – Shirvan City) of Azerbaijan, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, previously not convicted, against whom, on 4 May 2019, it was imposed a preventive measure of detention, was arrested on charges of committing offences under the Articles 167-3.1, 214-1 and 218.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

According to the investigation, Samir Qurbanov formed a criminal group, which included the accused, and headed it in order to attract Azerbaijani citizens outside the Republic to the armed conflicts on the grounds of religious radicalism, enmity and fanaticism. The aim of the criminal group was to commit terrorist acts in order to cause harm to people and spread panic and terror among them. Some of their crimes could not be accomplished due to the reasons beyond their control.

On 4 May 2021, the Baku Court of Serious Crimes issued a verdict against the defendants. All of them were declared guilty of the charges brought against them and sentenced:

  • Samir Qurbanov to a period of 8 years’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Amin Hasanov to a period of 7 years’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Aflatun Bayramov to a period of 7 years’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Babak Mammadli to a period of 7 years’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Tehran Qasimov to a period of 5 years’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Elgun Ismayilov to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Aladdin Ibishev to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Yusif Imanov to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Orkhan Qurbanov to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Shahriyar Jabbarov to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony;
  • Javid Amanov to a period of 2 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with serving his sentence in a strict regime colony.

The lawyers of Samir Qurbanov, Amin Hasanov, Aflatun Bayramov, Tehran Qasimov, Elgun Ismayilov, Aladdin Ibishev and Babak Mammadli have appealed against the verdict.

On 9 August 2021, the Baku Court of Appeal ruled on the case: the defence lawyers’ complaints were not granted by the court and the sentence of the Baku Court of Serious Crimes imposed on 4 May 2021, was not altered.

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. In the course of the investigation and trials, Samir Qurbanov’s testimonies were inconsistent. While he admitted the responsibility for the offence during the investigation, he retracted this testimony at the trial. The trial and appeal courts regarded his contradictory testimonies as defensive in nature. The court ruling stated that the defendant’s intent was to avoid responsibility. The same happened with the testimony of some witness. Thus, the witnesses Shakhmar Salimov, Elchin Jafarov, Qabil Qasimov, Ali Aliyev, Rahil Nasirli, Tural Abdiyev and some others testified both at the investigation and the trial. However, their testimonies during the investigation and in the curse of trial were dramatically differed. The courts interpreted the witnesses’ testimonies as follows: the testimony provided during the investigation was credible, and the ones delivered at trial were of a defensive nature. These witnesses testified in a manner identical to that of the defendants. The courts did not explain the reasoning behind such a conclusion. It was explained by the lawyers that the witnesses and defendants had been in a freer and more independent position at the trial and therefore their testimonies were also free and independent than those given at the investigation, where they could presumably have been under pressure and control of the law-enforcement officers, i.e. the prosecution.

The irrefutability of the evidence must not be questioned, the different pieces of evidence for the same episode must validate and complement one another, and must be considered as a whole. The court did not examine the criminal case in a comprehensive, complete and objective manner.

Throughout the trial, the defendants’ lawyers filed various motions with the court in order to establish the accuracy and truth in the case. However, none of the submittes motions were satisfied by the court or they were abandoned without consideration.

According to the Article 121.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, reasons shall be given for the decision taken on an application or request, together with an assessment of the applicant’s arguments. Applications and requests for any matters connected with the prosecution to be examined thoroughly, fully and objectively under the required legal procedure, and for the violated rights and legal interests of the parties to the criminal proceedings and of other participants in the proceedings to be restored, may not be rejected.

The question of motions is also regulated by the Articles 323.5 and 323.6 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. According to the Article 323.5, the court shall allow applications submitted under Article 323.1 of this Code in the following circumstances:

  • 5.1. if the purpose of the application is the examination of all circumstances that may be of significance for a thorough, full and objective investigation of all matters connected with the criminal prosecution;
  • 5.2. if information and documents whose evidential value is in dispute were obtained by significantly violating requirements of this Code and other laws of the Azerbaijan Republic.

According to the Article 323.6 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, if the court dismisses an application, it shall give a reasoned decision on this matter. Applications that have been dismissed may be resubmitted depending on the further examination of the case.

The verdict states that the defendants have cooperated with the terrorist organizations but there are no documents signed by the defendants that can prove such cooperation. Not a single one in the case file.

According to the Article 21.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, even if there are reasonable suspicions as to the guilt of the person, this shall not cause the latter to be found guilty. The accused (the suspect) shall receive the benefit of any doubts which cannot be removed in the process of proving the charge in accordance with the provisions of this Code, within the appropriate legal proceedings. He shall likewise receive the benefit of any doubts which are not removed in the application of criminal law and criminal procedure legislation.

 

The Article 145.3 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states, that if suspicions which emerge during the process of proving the charge cannot be removed by other evidence, they shall be interpreted in favour of the suspect or accused. The credibility of the charges is in doubt, and these doubts must be determined in the defendants’ favour. The defense lawyers repeatedly demanded proof of the defendants’ guilt, but they were unable to obtain any.

If the prosecution has failed to prove the defendants’ guilt, the court must grant the acquittal and release the defendants.

In the Article 42 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic noted grounds for acquittal:

  • if no criminal act has been committed;
  • if the act has no criminal content;
  • if there is no link with the offence committed;
  • if guilt is not proven;
  • if the jury delivers a verdict of not guilty.

The Article 41.4 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

If the court finds circumstances which preclude criminal prosecution before the beginning of the court hearing, it shall suggest that the public prosecutor decide on the question of withdrawing the prosecution of the accused.

The Article 326.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

When starting the questioning, the president shall propose that the accused give evidence on the charge brought against him and on other circumstances of significance for the thorough, full and objective examination of the charge.

The court, in the commented criminal case, offered the defendants to testify, but they refused to do so at the initial stage and stated that they would testify after the evidence examination. In the verdict, the court specified that the defendants had refused to testify at all. After examining the evidence, the court concluded proceedings and asked the parties to proceed to closing arguments, thereby depriving the defendants of the opportunity to testify. The denial of testimony at the initial stage was interpreted to the defendants’ disadvantage. Though, according to the Article 324.3.6 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, such a refusal of the accused cannot be interpreted to their detriment.

The prosecution and the verdict stated that the accused allegedly used a secret software Theema ID while communicating with members of terrorist organizations. However, an expertise found that no such a software was detected on the mobile phones they owned.

The court also referred to various certificates issued by the AR State Security Service, which did not have any relevant sources. These certificates were accepted as evidence in the case by the court.

Partiality, bias of the court violated the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Article 6(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. According to this article, in the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The court violated the principle of a fair trial by an independent and impartial tribunal

In the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Ferrantelli and Santangelo vs Italy on 7 August 1996, it is stated “… What is at stake is the confidence which the courts in a democratic society must inspire in the public. This implies that in deciding whether in a given case there is a legitimate reason to fear that a particular judge lacks impartiality, the perception of the accused is important but not decisive. What is decisive is whether this fear can be held to be objectively justified”. See: https://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/1996/29.html

The court, by failing to examine the criminal case thoroughly, comprehensively and objectively, violated one of the fundamental human rights, the right to a fair trial.

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The guilt of those sentenced to long terms of imprisonment was not proven at the trial

THE GUILT OF THOSE SENTENCED TO LONG TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT WAS NOT PROVEN AT THE TRIAL

Yunis Safarov

Analysis of violation of law during Yunis Safarov’s and 11 other defendants’ trial

Baku Grave Crimes Court

Case №1(101)-128/2021

16 August 2021

 Presiding judge: Afgan Hajiyev

 Judges: Ali Mammadov, Telman Huseynov

Defendants: Yunis Safarov, Mahir Azizov, Hamlet Abdullayev, Akif Aliyev, Rasim Mustafayev, Jeyhun Qurbanov, Firudin Zeynalov, Jafar Zalov, Vugar Mammadov, Jeyhun Salakhov, Anar Bagirov, Agha Sarkhani

Defenders: Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Aziz Qanbarov, Javad Javadov, Allahverdi Sadigli, Zohrab Askarov, Telman Aliyev, Musa Hasanov, Musa Aliyev, Fariz Namazli, Babak Hamidov, Vamif Shukurov, Ilqar Rustamov, Zubeida Sadigova

An Analysis of Offences at Yunis Safarov’s and 11 other defendants’ Trial                               

State prosecutors: Vugar Guliyev, Huseyn Rustamli, the Prosecutors of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic 

Victims: Elmar Valiyev, Qasim Ashbazov, Elshan Nasibov, Natiq Ahmadov, Elshan Suleymanov, Iftikhar Rustamov

Representative and attorney of victim Elmar Valiyev: Fakhraddin Safarov

The successor of the murdered defendant Ana Bagirov: his sister, Aynur Bagirova

The successor of the murdered defendant Agha Sarkhani: his spouse, Sevinj Sarkhani

On 3 July 2018, at around 8.30 PM, it was committed an armed attempt on the Head of the Executive Authority of the city, Elmar Valiyev. The incident took place in the city of Ganja. At the scene of the crime, the police detained a suspect, Yunis Safarov, a Russian citizen, who seriously wounded not only the Head of the Ganja City Executive but also his bodyguard, Qasim Ashbazov.

On 4 July 2018, the media circulated photographs of Yunis Safarov lying on the floor with the traces of torture and beatings. The origin of these photographs is still unknown. The investigating authorities denied any connection with the photos, whereas unofficial sources talked about a variety of versions of the photos’ origins. The first version was that Yunis Safarov was beaten up by Elmir Valiyev, son of the Head of the Ganja Executive Authority. According to the second version, Yunis Safarov was beaten and tortured by Sarkhan Ismayilov, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, and by Qorkhmaz Ibrahimov, the Chief Operative Officer of the Ganja Police Headquarters. Sarkhan Ismayilov, who filmed the beating on his own phone, sent the photos to Elmir Valiyev, the son of Elmar Valiyev. Elmir Valiyev then distributed the photos on social media in order to threaten the public.

On 10 July 2018, a protest rally took place in the center of Ganja in the course of which Colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev, Deputy Head of the Ganja Main Police Department, and Lieutenant Colonel Samad Abasov, the Deputy Head of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja, were killed. Farrukh Qasimov was one of the first detainees whose fate is still unknown. The organizers of the action were never identified.

On 13 July 2018, as a result of an operation conducted by the law enforcement officials, Rashad Boyukkishiyev was killed. It was him who was accused in the murder of the Colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev on the square.

On 21 July 2018, Anar Bagirov, previously put on the wanted list and hiding in the territory of Khojasan settlement in Binagadi district, was killed whilst rendering an armed resistance. Anar Bagirov was the accused person in this criminal case.

On 25 July 2018, Agha Sarkhani, a resident of Ganja and member of the Muslim Unity Movement, was shot dead by the security personnel. According to the law enforcement agencies, Agha Sarkhani had put up a fight in the course of his arrest by the armed force. He is also being charged in the criminal case. The media circulated a photo of the killed Agha Sarkhani lying with a gun in his right hand, although in reality he was left-handed.

Fuad Samadov was shot dead on 28 July 2018, during another special law enforcement operation in the city of Samukh. According to the law enforcement authorities, F. Samadov was also killed while offering gunfire resistance and was one of the active members of a “radical religious group”, as well as a rioting participant in Ganja.

On 10 August 2018, the Sumgayit City police killed Muraz Rahimov. According to the law enforcement authorities, he was also a member of a radical religious group and was killed while resisting armed force during a special police operation in Sumgait. Muraz Rahimov had previously been arrested for protesting against the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku.

For more information on the listed above murders and the mentioned photos of Yunis Safarov, are on the IPD’s website:

https://www.ipd-az.org/aliyevs-regime-is-carrying-out-repressions-by-imitating-the-fight-with-islamic-terrorism/

The Azerbaijan General Prosecutor held a briefing in connection with the events in Ganja, at which he announced the indictment of 77 people involved in the Ganja events. 13 people have been put on the wanted list. As a result of the operational search activities, five of the above-mentioned individuals were eliminated.

Elchin Sadigov known as a lawyer leading “sensitive cases” and being a lawyer of the arrested Yunis Safarov who in his turn was accused of committing an assassination attempt against Elmar Valiyev, the Head of the Ganja City Executive, has been suspended from defending Yunis Safarov following a complaint by the Penitentiary Service of the Azerbaijan Republic’s Ministry of Justice. The Prison Service’s ruling stated that the lawyer had allegedly encouraged his client, Yunis Safarov, to file a complaint about his torture. The lawyer denies that and considers the ruling unlawful and unfounded. The Russian lawyer Yevgeniy Sherbatov was also prevented of defending Yunus Safarov.

For more information are on the IPD’s website:

https://www.ipd-az.org/prosecutor-generals-office-of-azerbaijan-left-yunis-safarov-without-a-lawyer/

On 10 July 2018 the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service of Azerbaijan issued a joint report stating that a group of approximately 150-200 radical believers attempted to grossly violate public order at around 8pm on July 10, 2018. Those people disregarded the police warnings, committed unlawful actions and resisted the police officers, inflicting bodily injuries with blunt and stabbing tools. The statement also said that the police managed to detain about 40 people at the scene, while the other protesters successfully escaped. The law enforcers expressed regret over the two killed policemen on the square.

 

The detainees were brought to the Ganja City Police Headquarters. It was opened a criminal case under the Articles 120.2.3 (Deliberate murder of a victim in connection with implementation of a given person of service activity or performance of public debt), 120.2.7 (Deliberate murder of two or more persons), 220.1 (Mass disorders), 221.3 (Hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon) and 228.4 (Illegal acquisition, selling or carrying of gas weapon, cold steel, including throwing weapon, except for districts where carrying of a cold steel is an accessory of a national suit or connected to hunting) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

The criminal case was divided into several parts, and the courts hearing was conducted separately for each croup case. Those detained at the protest were given lengthy sentences ranging from 4 to 20 years imprisonment.

Analyses of the previous trials are posted on the IPD’s website:

https://www.ipd-az.org/eight-more-citizens-were-convicted-on-so-called-ganja-case/

https://www.ipd-az.org/six-more-citizens-were-convicted-on-so-called-ganja-case/

https://www.ipd-az.org/seven-more-citizens-were-convicted-on-so-called-ganja-case/

https://www.ipd-az.org/ganja-city-court-on-grave-crimes-passed-a-sentence-on-11-defendants-on-so-called-ganja-case/

The last group hearing was a case against Yunis Safarov. In addition to Safarov, there were also 11 others, two of whom (Anar Bagirov and Agha Sarkhani) were killed by the security services in the course of the special operation as it was described above.

Yunis Safarov, born in 1983 in the city of Ganja, a citizen of the Russian Federation, was detained on 3 July 2018. On 4 July 2018, the court issued against Safarov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the articles:

    • • 29,120.2.1 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community);
      • 29,120.2.3 (Attempt of deliberate murder of a victim in connection with implementation of a given person of service activity or performance of public debt);
      • 29, 120.2.4 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed with special cruelty or in publicly dangers way);
      • 29, 120.2.6 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed with the purpose to hide other crime or to facilitate its commitment, as well as connected with rape or other violent actions of sexual nature);
      • 29,120.2.7 (Attempt of deliberate murder of two or more persons);
      • 29,120.2.10 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed repeatedly);
    • • 29, 120.2.11 (Attempt of deliberate murder connected to robbery, extortion, terrorism or gangsters);
    • • 181.3.1. (Burglary, committed by organized group);
    • • 181.3.3 (Burglary, committed with causing heavy harm to health of the victim);
    • • 28, 214.2.1 (Preparation for terrorism committed by an organized criminal group);
    • • 28, 214.2.3 (Preparation for the commission of terrorism with the use of firearms);
    • • 28, 214.2.6 (Preparation of terrorism committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism);
    • • 214.2.1 (Preparation of terrorism committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community);
    • • 214.2.3 (Preparation of terrorism committed with application of fire-arms or subjects used as a weapon);
    • • 214.2.6 (Preparation of terrorism committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism);
    • • 214-2 (Public calls for terrorism);
    • • 12.3,218.2 (Exercises for the purpose of terrorism);
    • • 12.1,218.2 (Participation in criminal community (criminal organization) or in association of organizers, heads or other representatives of the organized groups);
    • • 228.3 (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies or explosives, committed by organized group);
    • • 229.3 (Illegal manufacturing of a weapon committed by organized group);
    • • 232.3.1 (Plunder or extortion of a weapon, supplies and explosives committed by organized group);
    • • 277 (Attempt on life of the state or public authority (act of terrorism);
    • • 278 (Violent capture power or violent deduction power);
    • • 278.2 (Violent capture power or violent deduction power in infringement of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as directed on violent change of constitutional grounds of the states committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism);
    • • 279.3 (Creation of armed formations or groups, which are not provided by the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic entailed to destruction of people or other heavy consequences);
    • • 281.3 (Public appeals directed against the state, committed by orders of foreign organizations or their representatives);
    • • 283-1.3 (Creation of stable group to participate in the armed conflicts outside the Azerbaijan Republic);
    • • 318.2 (Crossing of protected frontier of the Azerbaijan Republic without established documents or outside of check point of frontier, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or organized group either with application of violence or with threat of its application);
    • • 320.1 (Fake of certificate or other official document giving the rights or releasing from duties, with a view of its use or selling of such document, as well as manufacturing in same purposes or selling of counterfeit state awards of the Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms);
    • • 320.2 (Use of obviously counterfeit documents) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

 Mahir Azizov, born in 1986 in the city of Yevlakh, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic was detained on 4 July 2018. On 5 July 2018, the court ordered against Mahir Azizov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 214-2, 228.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 278.2, 279.3, 281.3, 318.2, 320.1 and 320.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Hamlet Abdullayev, born in 1978 in the Republic of Georgia, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 6 July 2018. On 7 July 2018, the court ordered against Hamlet Abdullayev a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 229.3, 234.1, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 278.2, 279.3 and 281.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Akif Aliyev, born in 1966 in the Republic of Armenia, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 12 July 2018. On 13 July 2018, the court ordered against Akif Aliyev a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 278.2, 318.2, 320.1 and 320.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Rasim Mustafayev, born in 1980 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 8 July 2018. On 9 July 2018, the court ordered against Rasim Mustafayev a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 229.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 278.2 and 279.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Jeyhun Qurbanov, born in 1986 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 8 July 2018. On 9 July 2018, the court ordered against Jeyhun Qurbanov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Firudin Zeynalov, born in 1982 in Terter City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 8 July 2018. On 9 July 2018, the court ordered against Firudin Zeynalov Qurbanov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Jafar Zalov, born in 1977 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 4 July 2018. On 5 July 2018, the court ordered against Jafar Zalov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Vugar Mammadov, born in 1986 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 4 July 2018. On 5 July 2018, the court ordered against Vugar Mammadov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.10, 29,120.2.11, 181.3.1, 181.3.3, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 232.3.1, 232.3.2, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Jeyhun Salakhov, born in 1972 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was detained on 7 July 2018. On 8 July 2018, the court ordered against Jeyhun Salakhov a measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 4 months. He was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 214-2, 228.3, 234.4.3, 28,277, 277, 278.2 and 281.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Anar Bagirov, born in 1975 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 229.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016),278.2, 279.3 and 315.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. On 21 July 2018, Anar Bagirov was killed by the security officers in the course of a special operation.

Agha Sarkhani, born in 1970 in Ganja City, a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, a member of the “Muslim Unity” movement, was charged under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277, 278.2, 279.3 and 315.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. On 25 July 2018, Agha Sarkhani was shot dead by the security services during a special operation.

According to the investigation, Yunis Safarov had been regularly travelling to Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran since 2007. He promoted the provisions of Islam, the fight against crime in Azerbaijan in a radical way, the forcible seizure of power and the change of the constitutional system of the State, the creation of a Shariah governed state in Azerbaijan. Previously, residing in Moscow, Yunis Safarov worked in a special police unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation and had no criminal records. Yunis Safarov together with his acquaintances Mahir Azizov, Akif Aliyev, Hamlet Abdullayev, Anar Bagirov, Agha Sarkhani, Jafar Zalov, Firudin Zeynalov, Vugar Mammadov, Jeyhun Qurbanov, Rasim Mustafayev, Jeyhun Salakhov and others formed an organized criminal group in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On the Azdiaspora forum, on which he was an administrator, and other social media, he discussed methods of overthrowing the government in Azerbaijan and the physical elimination of the state officials. According to the accusation, Yunis Safarov had been following Elmar Valiyev, the Chief Executive of the city of Ganja, at various events since January 2018. Yunis Safarov was commissioned by the members of the foreign organization Huseyniyya to kill Elmar Valiyev in February 2018. On 3 July 2018, Yunis Safarov, armed with a Makarov pistol, approached Valiyev’s security guard, Qasim Ashbazov, and shot him twice. After wounding Q. Ashbazov, he then attacked E. Valiyev and shot him as well. As a result of the attack, both men were seriously injured.

In the course of the judicial investigation, Yunis Safarov testified that he had decided to attack the Head of the Ganja City Executive because all appeals and complaints to higher authorities regarding Elmar Valiyev’s criminal activities had been ignored. Yunis Safarov indicated that the state officials had shown disrespect to the citizens. He was not at all remorseful for what he had done. Yunis Safarov stated that his goal was to punish Elmar Valiyev and also to teach other officials a lesson. Yunis Safarov followed the Ganja events from Moscow. He also testified that he had been acquainted with Mahir Azizov since their childhood, and having studied with his sister at the same class. In 2001-2002 he met Jeyhun Salakhov at a mosque in Moscow that they both attended. He had also met Rasim Mustafayev in Moscow. He knew Akif Aliyev as brother of Azer Aliyev, he had seen him only twice. Although, he had known Vugar Mammadov for a long time, they were good friends.  He and Jeyhun Qurbanov are distant relatives.

Also, Yunis Safarov testified that he had never met Hamlet Abdullayev and that he had never been handed a Kalashnikov rifle by the latter.  He didn’t know the killed Agha Sarkhani either. He insisted that he met Firudin Zeynalov only during the trial.

The accused, Hamlet Abdullayev, who was questioned at the trial, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had known Yunis Safarov as a true believer with whom he had maintained normal relationship. He confirmed that knew the other defendants as residents of the city of Ganja, but he had never been acquainted with Akif Aliyev. He also knew the killed Anar Bagirov, with whom he was on friendly terms. Agha Sarkhani was not known to him at all. He met Yunis Safarov in Ganja in 2017 while buying his flat. During the meeting, Yunis Safarov told him that he wanted to talk to him about some business, that he had been trained in Syria and wanted to take revenge on Elmar Valiyev for mistreating the residents of Ganja. Hamlet Abdullayev did not take his words seriously and tried to discourage him but Yunis Safarov did not listen to him.

Mahir Azizov, who was questioned at the hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had lived in Vladimir City in the Russian Federation since 1998. Then he moved to Moscow. Since 2004, he had studied together with Yunis Safarov’s sister in the same class. Following his graduation from the university’s Faculty of Law, he met with Y. Safarov, with whom he talked about religion and socio-political life. Then M. Azizov returned to Azerbaijan to do his military service, and lived at Safarov’s residence. Until 2017, he had not met him. In 2017. Yunis Safarov wrote to M. Azizov via the social media and offered to meet with him. Yunis Safarov said that there was a problem with his documents and that his name was on the wanted list. Mahir Azizov testified that he had seen the accused Rasim Mustafayev just once. Yunis Safarov asked Mahir Azizov to tell Rasim Mustafayev that he would like to meet him. However, Rasim Mustafayev did not want to meet with Yunis Safarov. On 5 July 2018, two strangers in civilian clothes entered the shop where Mahir Azizov worked, he believed them to be customers and provided them some information on goods. Later, these men came back and handcuffed him. He was brought to the Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Azerbaijan Ministry of Interior Affairs, where he was forced to sign a self-incriminating confession. Mahir Azizov was then brought back to his house in Sumgayit, where he lived with his wife, two young children and mother-in-law. While in the house, the officers asked him where he had put the grenade. As a result of the search, the grenade was found in a child’s wardrobe afterwards. Then again, he was brought back to the Department for Combating Organized Crime of the AR Interior Ministry. The investigator pressed him to testify as they wanted to, so he made the kind of testimony that the investigating body needed.

 

Akif Aliyev, who was questioned during the court hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and indicated that the charge had been based on supposition and suspicion. He testified that he had no communication with any members of the so-called criminal group. There weren’t any correspondence or calls from the accused persons in his phone, which he has been using since 2015. He had just met with Yunis Safarov on two occasions through his brother Azer Aliyev.

Rasim Mustafayev, who was questioned at the trial, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he met Yunis Safarov at a mosque in Moscow in 2005. In 2007, he returned to Ganja City whereas Yunis Safarov returned to Ganja a year later, in 2008. He did not meet Yunis Safarov any time after 2013. Since 2016, Rasim Mustafayev had been living in Baku, where he worked. Only three days after Yunis Safarov’s arrest, Rasim Mustafayev was also detained and brought to the Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic. Rasim Mustafayev stated that he had known Hamlet Abdullayev while he had seen Mahir Azizov only twice. Rasim Mustafayev also testified that he had been working in the furniture store through the year 2010 and was visited by Yunis Safarov along with Mahir Azizov. In April-May 2018, Mahir Azizov came over to him and said that Yunis Safarov had been looking for him. Being aware that at that time Yunis Safarov was searched for, Mahir Azizov advised Rasim Mustafayev to stay away from Yunis Safarov. After that, Mahir Azizov left, and he did not see him again. On 9 July 2018, Rasim Mustafayev was informed at work that he had been sought. Upon his arrest, fifteen police officers came to his house, while his wife and children were at home. In one of his jackets, a Makarov pistol was found. Rasim Mustafayev insisted that the police officers themselves had placed the Makarov pistol in his house. Afterwards, he was brought to the Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Jeyhun Qurbanov, who was questioned during the court hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that none of the charges were true and substantiated. He had been submitted and forced to sign some documents. Jeyhun Qurbanov has revealed that Yunis Safarov was his relative, they had lived in the same courtyard, and grew up together for up to 4-5 years old. However, despite that, when in 2017. Yunis Safarov approached him, Jeyhun Qurbanov did not recognize him. Then, while in Baku, Yunis Safarov called Jeyhun Qurbanov and asked him to find him a flat for rent. Thereafter, he had no contact with him.

Firudin Zeynalov, who was questioned during the court hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had been in custody since 7 October 2017. His arrest is linked to the events at the ImamzadeMosque in Ganja.

More detailed about event at the Imamzade Mosque see here:

https://musavat.com/news/gencede-icra-hakimiyyeti-asura-gunu-niye-gerginlik-yaradib_472267.html?d=1

This means that F. Zeynalov had no chance to take part in the crimes he was accused of. On 14 July 2018, he was in the temporary detention facility at the Ganja City Police Department, where an investigator of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic read out charges against Firudin Zeynalov but the grounds for the charges against him were not clarified. He also testified that he had first been questioned only in November 2018. He was then transferred to the Baku Detention Centre, where he was interrogated by the investigator Orkhan Hajiyev.  Zeynalov also claimed that he had not been involved in any crimes and had not known any of the suspects.

Jafar Zalov, who was questioned during the court hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had met Yunis Safarov through Hamlet Abdullayev in the year 2008. From 2008 to 2017, D. Zalov did not personally see Y. Safarov. In the winter of 2017, D. Zalov accidentally spotted Y. Safarov in the village of Ahmadli in Baku. He said that he had returned from Russia because his documents had not been in proper form. D. Zalov helped Yunis, but pointed out that if he had known that he was going to commit a crime, he would not have helped him.

Vugar Mammadov, who was questioned during the court hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had not committed any crimes; his grandfather, father and he himself worked as policemen. He had known Yunis Safarov since 2009-2010. He was known as a religious man and a lawyer.  He saw Yunis Safarov at one of the weddings, where he criticized officials who, in his opinion, had been creating an abyss between the President and people. В. Mammadov pointed out that he had not been aware of Y.Safarov’s intentions, did not have any complaint against Elmar Valiyev and everything that had been written about his assistance to Yunis Safarov was a lie. V. Mammadov testified that he had found for Y. Safarov a flat to rent. On 22 July 2017, he found out that there had been an attack on Elshan Nasirov (a security guard at the bank, which according to the investigation Yunis Safarov had stolen a weapon) with a blunt object in 2017. He recognized Yunis Safarov on the video and immediately informed his superior, Shamistan Karimov. His boss told him to participate in the investigative operations. The police officers arrived at the house where Y.Safarov was staying and there, found his belongings. The Chief of the Kapaz District Police Department of the Ganja City promised to V.Mammadov ten thousand manats and a post for capturing Yunis Safarov. If he fails to catch Yunis, they will force Y.Safarov to testify against Vugar Mammadov once they capture him. Vugar Mammadov also testified that he had worked in the security of various facilities for a long time, and if he had cooperated or supported Yunis Safarov, he would have informed him of the location of surveillance cameras in the city. However, it did not happen.

The defendant, Jeyhun Salakhov, who was questioned at the hearing, pleaded not guilty to the charges and testified that he had known only Yunis Safarov, Rasim Mustafayev, Mahir Azizov, and Hamlet Abdullayev among the accused ones. He met Yunis Safarov in Russia in 2002 and they were friends until 2010. He met Hamlet Abdullayev in Ganja City. In 2017, he saw Y. Safarov again. At that time, Jeyhun Salakhov was working in a bookstore where Yunis Safarov used to come to read books. Hamlet Abdullayev and Anar Bagirov also visited the store. Jeyhun Salakhov testified that the police forced him to look for Yunis, but he refused to do so, saying that it was not his duty but the police’, for which he received 10 days of administrative arrest. Even though the investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs promised to pay a bonus of ten thousand manats in case of catching Yunus Safarov. Then this amount was increased up to twenty thousand manats. The police looked for Yunis Safarov everywhere.  Later he learned that Yunis had attacked Elmar Valiyev. Jeyhun Salakhov stated that although he had found for Yunus Safarov a telephone number and a flat for Yunis, he was not aware of Safarov’s plans and was not involved in the criminal group.

Aynur Bagirova, the killed defendant Anar Bagirov’s sister and his legal successor testified during the court hearing that her brother had been performing namaz (prayers) and selling religious books in front of the Shah Abbas Mosque in Ganja. At the mosque, he met Hamlet Abdullayev, and through him, he got acquainted with Yunis Safarov. Aynur Bagirova also stated that her brother had not resisted during his detention and she believed that the officers had killed her brother deliberately.

Sevinj Sarkhani, the killed defendant Agha Sarkhani’s spouse and legal successor, testified at the trial that she got married to Agha Sarkhani in 2004 and has two young children. Her husband had been selling shoes at the market, and time to time visited his relatives in Iran. In 2011, he was detained on drug trafficking charges and served a 3-year imprisonment sentence. It was during this time that he started praying (namaz). Sevinj Sarkhani saw her husband for the last time on 9 July 2018, and he told her about the expected rally. On 23 July 2018, while communicating with him by mobile phone, he did not tell her where he was.

Elmar Valiyev’s bodyguard Qasim Ashbazov, working in the bank security service Elshan Nasibov and Iftikhar Rustamov from the Department of Organized Crime Investigation, all of them testified at the trial that the incriminating to them crimes were the fault of Yunis Safarov.

According to the criminal case records, the victim, Elmar Valiyev, the former Head of the Ganja City Executive Authority is unable to clearly recall and describe the events of 3 July 2018, due to his state of health.

A religious expertise conducted on 3 August and 28 December 2018, determined that there were calls for the forcible seizure, the retention of power and violent overthrow of the constitutional framework of the Azerbaijan Republic in the brochures found in the possession of the accused.

The court, having heard the criminal case in open proceedings, found the defendants guilty of the following offences and sentenced them:

  • Yunis Safarov, for committing offences under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.6, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 214-2, 12.3,214-3.1, 12.1,218.2, 228.3, 229.3, 232.3.1, 232.3.2, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 2, 279.3, 281.3, 283-1.3, 318.2, 320.1 and 320.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to life imprisonment in the Gobustan Penitentiary Service Closed Prison;
  • Hamlet Abdullayev, for committing crimes under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 229.3, 234.1, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016),2, 279.3 and 281.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 19 years’ imprisonment to be served in a strict regime facility;
  • Mahir Azizov, for committing offences under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 214-2, 228.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (old version in force until 28.10.2016), 2, 279.3, 281.3, 318.2, 320.1 and 320.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment with 5 years’ imprisonment in the Gobustan Penitentiary Service Closed Prison, and further imprisonment in a high-security institution;
  • Akif Aliyev, for committing crimes under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (вредакции до 28 октября 2016 года), 278.2, 318.2, 320.1 and 320.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment to be served in a strict regime facility;
  • Rasim Mustafayev, for committing crimes under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 28,214.2.1, 28,214.2.3, 28,214.2.6, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 229.3, 28,277, 277, 278 (в редакции до 28 октября 2016 года), 278.2 and 279.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment to be served in a strict regime facility;
  • Jeyhun Qurbanov, for committing crimes under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 28,277, 277 and 279.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 18 years’ imprisonment to be served in a strict regime facility;
  • Firudin Zeynalov, for committing offences under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 19 years’ imprisonment with 4 years’ imprisonment in the Gobustan Penitentiary Service Closed Prison, and further imprisonment in a high-security institution;
  • Jafar Zalov, for committing crimes under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 18 years’ imprisonment to be served in a strict regime facility;
  • Vugar Mammadov, for committing offences under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.6, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 228.3, 232.3.1, 232.3.2, 28,277, 277 and 278.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 19 years’ imprisonment with 4 years’ imprisonment in the Gobustan Penitentiary Service Closed Prison, and further imprisonment in a high-security institution;
  • Jeyhun Salakhov, for committing offences under the Articles 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.4, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 214-2, 228.3, 234.1, 28,277, 277, 278.2 and 281.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 19 years’ imprisonment with 4 years’ imprisonment in the Gobustan Penitentiary Service Closed Prison, and further imprisonment in a high-security institution.

 

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. As mentioned above, there were photographs circulated in the media immediately following Yunis Safarov’s arrest, showing the body of Yunis Safarov in blood with traces of torture and beatings lying on the floor. See: https://www.ipd-az.org/aliyevs-regime-is-carrying-out-repressions-by-imitating-the-fight-with-islamic-terrorism/

The photos clearly depicted Yunis Safarov as being beaten with his hands tied behind his back, lying in blood, and showing a man’s shoe next to him. It should be reminded that these photographs had been circulated when Yunis was in custody. The use of torture, beatings in respect of the accused was not investigated or examined by the court. The verdict does not contain any legal assessment of the law enforcement officers’ illegal and unlawful actions that should have ensured observance of the defendant’s rights.

The Article 9 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic enshrines the principle of humanity. The essence of the principle consists in ensuring that penalties and other measures of criminal law applied to a person who has committed an offence shall not have the nature, intent of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

According to the Article 12.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic,

The judicial authorities shall observe the human and civil rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution to all participants in criminal proceedings.

The Article 13 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

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.

During the criminal prosecution the following shall be prohibited (the Article 15.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic):

  • 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;
  • the imposition of long-term or severe physical pain or acts which are detrimental to health, or any similar ill-treatment;
  • 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.

Torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are also prohibited by the Norms of International Law. Thus, 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 prohibition of torture is also set out in the Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in addition to the European Convention.

In the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Aksoy v. Turkey of December, 18, 1996 it is stated, “The Article 3. As the Court has pointed out many times before, the Court protects one of the basic values of a democratic society. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, such as the fight against organised terrorism or crime, the Convention absolutely forbids the use of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Unlike most of the substantive provisions of the Convention and Protocols Nos. 1 and 4, the Article 3 do not provide exemptions or permit its partial withdrawal: under the Article 15, it does not cease to be in force even in a public emergency threatening the existence of the nation” (para. 62). See: https://www.dipublico.org/1563/case-of-aksoy-v-turkey-application-no-2198793-european-court-of-human-rights/

 

As previously pointed out, the court failed to take into account the undeniable facts of Yunis Safarov’s inhuman treatment while under investigation, failed to assess the legal basis thereof and made no adequate determination in respect of the law enforcement officers who tortured the defendant.

Whereas according to the Article 99 of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic On Courts and Judges, the judges shall perform the following duties: perform justice precisely and unconditionally, ensure moral and educational influence of the judicial practice, be fair and impartial; keep confidentiality, not disclose information revealed in the closed court sessions; avoid any deed that causes harm to the prestige of justice, authority, honour and dignity of judges. The judges of the Baku City Court of Serious Crimes ignored the Article On Courts and Judges.

A particular consideration should be given to the religious analyses conducted as part of this criminal case on 3 August and 28 December 2018. The verdict states that the experts determined that the brochures and discs found in the possession of the accused contained calls for the forcible seizure and retention of the power, forcible change of the constitutional system and violation of the territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as acts of religious hatred and enmity.

In this regard, we should note that the religious expertise is the study of information on doctrine, as well as the analysis of the religious studies aspects of controversial texts, objects of worship and the performance of religious rites and ceremonies. The religious expertise makes it possible to identify the religious organization, determine its doctrine, and describe its context. Thus, the religious expertise reveals features, which are subsequently legally qualified as compliant or not compliant with the current legislation. The expert cannot answer the question about the truth or falsity of religious beliefs while analyzing the religious doctrine.

In the course of the expert’s examination, the religious scholar examines:

  • the constituent documents of a religious organization and the decisions of its governing and executive bodies;
  • the fundamentals of the religious organization’s doctrine;
  • the forms and methods of operation of a religious organization;
  • worship services, and other religious rites and ceremonies;
  • the interna documents of the religious organization reflecting its hierarchical and organizational structure;
  • religious literature, and other printed, audio and video materials;
  • religious sermons, symbols, paraphernalia.

See: https://sudagent.ru/publications/religiovedcheskaya-ekspertiza-obekty-osobennosti-i-tipovye-voprosy/

As we can see, a religious expert examines certain issues within his competence. The questions addressed to the expert in the commented criminal case are not within his competence. They have a legal connotation and give a juridical qualification to the offence. In the case at hand the court should not have admitted the expert’s conclusions as evidence and should not have referred to them subsequently in the judgment.

The defendants were charged under more than 20 Articles of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. However, none of the provisions had been proved by the investigating authorities. There was no incontrovertible evidence in the case and outside observers had reasonable doubts about the defendants’ guilt.

There was also a violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence. According to the Article 21 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic,

  • any person suspected of committing an offence shall be found innocent if his guilt is not proven in accordance with this Code and if the court has not delivered a final judgment to that effect.
  • even if there are reasonable suspicions as to the guilt of the person, this shall not cause the latter to be found guilty. The accused (the suspect) shall receive the benefit of any doubts which cannot be removed in the process of proving the charge in accordance with the provisions of this Code, within the appropriate legal proceedings. He shall likewise receive the benefit of any doubts which are not removed in the application of criminal law and criminal procedure legislation;
  • the accused shall not be obliged to prove his innocence. It shall be for the prosecution to prove the charge or to refute the evidence given in defence of the suspect or the accused.

Despite the fact that the investigators’ arguments raised a number of doubts about the proper handling of the criminal case by the investigating bodies, the court did not interpret these doubts in favour of the defendants. In case of lack of compelling evidence provided by the investigating bodies, the prosecution falls apart. Numerous doubts were not resolved either in the course of the investigation or at the trial. It was up to the investigating authorities to prove the defendants’ guilt and they failed to do so.

It has been pointed out above that Yunis Safarov’s lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, had been suspended. Following a complaint made by the Penitentiary Service of the AR Ministry of Justice, Mr Sadigov was suspended as a defence counsel for Mr Safarov. The core of the complaint was that the lawyer had allegedly incited his client to file a complaint concerning the torture inflicted on him during the preliminary investigation. A lawyer’s job is to provide legal assistance to his client. Unlawful and unjustified dismissal of the lawyer is a violation of the defendant’s right to legal defence guaranteed by the Article 61 (1) of the AR Constitution, the Article 6 (3) subparagraph (c) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This article states:

Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

  • (c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require.

 

Upon closer examination, we can deduce that the guilt of the 11 people accused along with Yunis Safarov, as well as his acquaintances and relatives, has not been established at all. And their prosecution is a gross violation of the National Legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic and the International Law.

In the course of the court hearing the principle of transparency of the trial was violated. The Press and public activists, willing to follow the trial, were not allowed in the courtroom. The principle of publicity, enshrined in the Article 27 of the AR CPC, as well as in the Article 6(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, was gravely violated.

Thus, the fundamental principles of criminal proceedings were infringed, the issues that fall within the competence of the courts were not considered, the evidences were distorted, the experts’ conclusions beyond their competence were accepted as solid proofs in the case, the mistreatment was not investigated during the trial, and the illegal actions of the law enforcement officers were not legally assessed.

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The persecution of Agil Humbatov is ongoing

The persecution of Agil Humbatov is ongoing

Agil Humbatov

Analysis of violation of law during Aqil Humbatov’s judicial proceedings

Baku City Khazar District Court

Case №4(003)-334/2021

13 August 2021

Judge: Tarlan Akbarov

Defendant: Aqil Humbatov

Defender: Sarkhan Mammadov

The plaintiff in the court: Jalal Mammadov, an investigator of the Khazar District Police Investigation Department.

With the participation of Khatai District Prosecutor, Fakhri Aleskerov.

 

Aqil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Party of the Azerbaijan (PFPA), lives in the city of Baku, Zira settlement, is unemployed and has three young children in in his custody. He collects cardboard from garbage dumps and sells it to feed his children. Humbatov has repeatedly criticized the country’s president at his personal Facebook page. In March 2020, Humbatov addressed the President on Facebook and harshly criticized the Head of the country for not having enough money to support his children. Mr. A. Humbatov raised the issue of child allowances since his three young children are in his custody – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihzNZTheruE

In 2019, Aqil Humbatov was detained for the first time. On 14 March 2019, he was subjected to administrative detention. His Party associates believe that the pressure on Humbatov is linked to his harsh criticism of the President and his direct appeals to the Country Head. On 30 March 2020, he was detained in the Mashtaqi settlement of Baku and placed in the Republican Psychiatric Hospital. On the very same day the hospital’s Head Physician, Agahasan Rasulov, applied to the Sabunchi District Court of Baku City with a request to forcibly place Aqil Humbatov in a psychiatric hospital. The Head Physician substantiated his application by saying that Aqil Humbatov, born in 1983, was urgently admitted to the hospital upon receipt of a letter dated 30 March 2020, sent by the authorities of the Khazar District Police 1st Department. The judge of Sabunchi District Court of Baku, Samir Talybov after having studied the case materials and heard the testimonies of the participants of the trial, came to the conclusion, on April 1, 2020, to dismiss the Head Physician’s application, justifying it by the fact of failure to present in court irrefutable evidence that Aqil Humbatov may be dangerous to society, that he may not manage himself due to some mental disorder or presence of severe mental illness – https://www.ipd-az.org/ru/agil-gumbatov/

However, on 3 April 2020, the Chairman of the Civil Chamber of the Baku Appeal Court, Mammad Mamadov issued a new ruling in A. Humbatov’s case. The judgment of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku dated 1 April 2020, was overturned and a new judgment was issued: Aqil Humbatov should be forcibly placed in the “Republican Psychiatric Hospital” – https://www.ipd-az.org/ru/agil-gimbatov-2/. Yet, after the Amnesty International, with the assistance of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, organized a broad international campaign in support to Aqil Humbatov demanding his release, the Head Doctor of the Psychiatric Hospital, Agahasan Rasulov was obliged to release Aqil Humbatov in a matter of 3 months.

Nevertheless, Aqil Humbatov’s persecution persisted in 2021. In the evening of 11 August 2021, Aqil Humbatov stepped out of the house. At night, his family received a call from the Khazar District Police Department of Baku and was informed that A.Humbatov had committed a crime and was therefore detained. He was charged with a crime under the Article 126.2.4 (Deliberate causing of serious harm to health committed from hooligan prompting) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (AR Criminal Code). According to the investigation, Aqil Humbatov inflicted serious injuries to a certain citizen, Yaman Mamedov, at whose yard A.Humbatov was collecting remnants of metal and cardboard.

On 13 August 2021, the Khazar District Court of Baku issued a restraint order against Mr. Humbatov in the form of detention for a period of four months.

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. According to the Article 28 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic,

⦁  Everyone has the right for freedom

This right is enshrined in both National Law and International Treaties.

For example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states in the Article 5 (1):

⦁ Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

The right to liberty is also guaranteed by the International Legal Framework. This Norm guarantees a fundamental right, among the most important rights: the right to liberty and security of individuals. The safeguards enshrined in this article apply to everyone: anyone at liberty or in detention has this right.

The right to liberty is also enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Article 9, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Article 9.

The courts must clearly justify their rulings when restricting a citizen’s right to liberty, and should do so by referring to the exhaustive list of restrictions set out in the Article 5(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The grounds upon which the court orders a preventive measure are set out in the Article 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. Thus, this article states:

⦁ hidden from the prosecuting authority;

⦁ obstructed the normal course of the investigation or court proceedings by illegally influencing parties to the criminal proceedings, hiding material significant to the prosecution or engaging in falsification;

⦁ committed a further act provided for in criminal law or created a public threat;

⦁ failed to comply with a summons from the prosecuting authority, without good reason, or otherwise evaded criminal responsibility or punishment;

⦁ prevented execution of a court judgment.

The court indicated the following grounds: concealment of the nature and gravity of the act committed from the body conducting the criminal proceedings, reoffending under the criminal law or posing a danger to the society, obstructing the normal course of the preliminary investigation or the court proceedings.

Despite the fact that these grounds were stated in the arrest order, the court did not provide any evidence to justify the harshest measure of restraint.

The Decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic On the practice of the application by the courts of the law in considering submissions relating to the imposition of measures of procedural coercion against defendants dated on 3 November 2009, states, ” The courts’ attention, while considering the implementation of measures to the accused, must be drawn to the prompt and effective observance of the Article 28 of the Azerbaijan Constitution, as well as the Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the practice of the European courts”. Avoid a formalistic approach to the submisions’ examination, bearing in mind that the preventive measure of arrest is the most serious one that restricts the rights of the arrested person. The courts should be informed that, according to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the use of preventive detention, as a rule, is permissible when the public interest exceeds a person’s right to liberty, i.e. when a person’s detention causes negative emotions in society and dangerous to society.”

As we can see, more than 10 years have passed since the Decision of the Plenum of the Azerbaijan Republic Supreme Court was adopted. However, it is still just on paper, not respected by the courts, and is also grossly violated. The Article 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that when imposing a preventive measure in the form of arrest the courts must verify the potentiality of application of the measure.

The court ruling against Aqil Humbatov lacks motivation and justification for the decision, which makes it formal and superficial.

In this case, the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the Article 21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic was violated. According to this article, even if there are reasonable suspicions as to the guilt of the person, this shall not cause the latter to be found guilty. The accused (the suspect) shall receive the benefit of any doubts which cannot be removed in the process of proving the charge in accordance with the provisions of this Code, within the appropriate legal proceedings. He shall likewise receive the benefit of any doubts which are not removed in the application of criminal law and criminal procedure legislation.

The reasonable doubts in the course of the trial have not been resolved and were not interpreted in favour of the accused, thus violating his right to be presumed innocent also guaranteed by the Article 6(2) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In view of the above, it can be concluded that the unjustified and unlawful court ruling violated one of the fundamental rights, e.g. Aqil Humbatov’s right to liberty, as well as his presumption of innocence.

 

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The trials of armenian prisoners of war are held behind closed doors

THE TRIALS OF ARMENIAN PRISONERS OF WAR ARE HELD BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The courtroom

The 14 accused Armenian prisoners of war

 Analysis of violation of law during 14 Armenian prisoners of war judicial proceedings

Baku Grave Crimes Court

Case №1(101)-1204/2021

2 July 2021

 Presiding judge: Afgan Hajiyev

Judges: Telman Huseynov, Ali Mammadov

Defendants: Hrach Avakyan, Gegam Serobyan, Armen Bagasyan, Gor Gasparyan, Kamo Sefilyan, Volodya Hakobyan, Gevorg Asatryan, Sisak Engoyan, Albert Petrosyan, Romik Sedrakyan, Aram Minasyan, Mkrtych Minasyan, Edgar Maresyan, Yuriy Karapetyan

 

There are no names of the state prosecutors or defense lawyers/advocates in the verdict text of the trial.

 There was a serious fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over Karabakh and its surroundings at the end of September 2020. As a result of the 44-day war, the Azerbaijani armed forces liberated several towns and numerous villages of the Karabakh region and its surrounding territories. According to the Azerbaijani official information, on 26 November 2020, a group of Armenian armed units secretly penetrated into the territory of Azerbaijan and occupied positions in a woodland to the north-west of Hadrut village of the Khojavand District. It happened right after the ceasefire established as a result of the trilateral (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia) agreement signed on 10 November 2020. Thereafter, the Armenian armed formations committed terrorist and subversive acts against the Azerbaijani military and civilians. As a result of a special operation carried out by the Azerbaijani State Security Service, on 13 December 2020, the Armenian servicemen were disarmed. There were 14 defendants in the criminal case: Hrach Avakyan, Geham Serobyan, Armen Bagasyan, Gor Gasparyan, Kamo Sefilyan, Volodya Hakobyan, Gevorg Asatryan, Sisak Engoyan, Albert Petrosyan, Romik Sedrakyan, Aram Minasyan, Mkrtych Minasyan, Edgar Maresyan, Yuriy Karapetyan.

All of them were accused of committing crimes under the Articles 214.2.1 (Terrorism, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community), 214.2.3. (Terrorism, committed with application of fire-arms or subjects used as a weapon), 228.3 (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies or explosives, committed by organized group), 279.2. (The attack on enterprises, establishments, and organizations or on separate persons by structure of formations or groups which is provided by articles 279.1 and 279.1-1 of the present Code) and 318.2 (Crossing of protected frontier of the Azerbaijan Republic, committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or organized group either with application of violence or with threat of its application) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

Similar charges were brought against another 53 individuals of the Armenian armed groups.

In the course of the trial, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. They claimed that they had not been aware that they had crossed the Azerbaijani border; they had been loaded into a truck in Armenia and taken to Karabakh. At the same time, they declared that they hadn’t had any idea exactly where they were. On 13 December 2020, their commander asked one of the defendants to bring food to a certain place; it was already dark outside, and there were both Russian and Azerbaijani servicemen nearby. The Armenian soldiers laid down their weapons and surrendered to the Azerbaijani military.

A report issued by the Azerbaijani State Security Service on 16 December 2020, indicated that it was detained 62 Armenian military personnel during an anti-terrorist operation on 13 December 2020. On 14 December 2020, two more Armenian servicemen were detained.

The court found that the preliminary investigation had misinterpreted the defendants’ actions. According to the court, the crimes had not been committed by an “organized group”. In addition, the defendants’ actions did not constitute an offence under the Articles 279 and 214 of the Criminal Code. The court ruled that the defendants’ involvement in the crimes could be classified as “a group of persons acting by pre-conspiracy”. The court also ruled that the actions of the defendants did not include such offences as terrorism, participation in illegal armed formations, illegal bearing of weapons and ammunition.

During the preliminary investigation, the defendants stated that the official Armenian authorities had threatened them with arrest and imprisonment for a period of 8 to 12 years if they refused to serve in the army while they had been conscripted. The defendants’ profiles revealed that these men had been unemployed. The facts indicate that the defendants did not want to fight.

The State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Articles 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 228.3, and 279.2 from the charges and to impose a sentence only according to the Article 318.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

The court did not find any aggravating circumstances in the criminal case.

On 2 July 2020, the Baku City Court of Serious Crimes sentenced issued the verdict against the Armenian military: they were found guilty of a crime under the Article 318.2 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. The Court sentenced Hrach Avakyan and Gegham Serobyan to 4 years imprisonment, Armen Bagasyan, Gor Gasparyan, Kamo Sefilyan, Volodya Hakobyan, Gevorg Asatryan, Sisak Engoyan, Albert Petrosyan, Romik Sedrakyan, Aram Minasyan, Mkrtych Minasyan, Edgar Maresyan and Yuriy Karapetyan to 6 months imprisonment.

Due to the expiration date of their sentence, Armen Bagasyan, Gor Gasparyan, Kamo Sefilyan, Volodya Hakobyan, Gevorg Asatryan, Sisak Engoyan, Albert Petrosyan, Romik Sedrakyan, Aram Minasyan, Mkrtych Minasyan, Edgar Maresyan and Yuriy Karapetyan were released in the courtroom.

 

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. Under the Article 4 of the Azerbaijan Republic Law On Courts and Judges, the Courts are guided in their consideration of cases by the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, laws and other legislative acts of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as the International Treaties, to which the Azerbaijan Republic is one of the parties.

The Article 25 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

  1. All people are equal with respect to the law and law court.

III. The state guarantees equality of rights and liberties of everyone, irrespective of race, nationality, religion, language, sex, origin, financial position, occupation, political convictions, membership in political parties, trade unions and other public organizations. Rights and liberties of a person, citizen cannot be restricted due to race, nationality, religion, language, sex, origin, conviction, political and social belonging.

The Article 7 On Courts and Judges also guarantees the equality of all before the Law and the Court.

Given that there has been a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia for more than 30 years and that the military clashes between two countries resumed in September 2020, the above commented trial should have been handled by objective and impartial judges based only on the Azerbaijani and International laws.

 

One of the main violations was that the trial was conducted without ensuring the principle of openness. This principle is often violated by the Azerbaijani courts in “sensitive cases”. That trial was no exception. Any independent journalists or other public representatives were not allowed into the courtroom. Among those in the courtroom, only pro-government journalists, whose names were on an unofficial list of the Presidential Administration, were in attendance. All others were denied access to the courtroom.

 

According to the Article 27.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

 

While safeguarding state, professional, commercial, personal and family secrets in accordance with this Code, court hearings in criminal cases and on other prosecution material shall be held publicly in all courts of the Azerbaijan Republic.

 

The court’s verdict stated that the trial was held openly, but in reality, the court effectively deprived the defendants of their right to a public trial and the journalists wishing to cover the trial objectively of their right to obtain and share any kind of information.

In this context, there is a third party: namely, the public. If a journalist has a right to obtain and share the information, then the public has a right to get it, especially if it is a trial of a public interest.

The evidentiary foundation stated in the verdict is insufficient and incomplete. Thus, the verdict contains the testimony of one witness only, who either did not name any of the defendants or indicate what offence they had committed. The testimony of that eyewitness was also supported by the testimony of a second witness.

In addition, the evidentiary foundation consisted of the Azerbaijani State Security Service documents, which were irrelevant to the case commented upon.

According to the Article 124.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, the following shall be accepted as evidence in criminal proceedings:

  • statements by the suspect, the accused, the victim and witnesses;
  • the expert’s opinion;
  • material evidence;
  • records of investigative and court procedures;
  • other documents.

 

The Article 138.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

 

Proof shall consist in the obtention, verification and assessment of evidence in order to establish facts of importance for the lawful, thorough and equitable determination of the criminal charge.

According to the Article 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic,

Evidence collected for the purposes of prosecution shall be verified fully, thoroughly and objectively. As part of the verification process the items of evidence collected shall be analysed and compared with one another, new evidence shall be collected and the reliability of the source of the evidence obtained shall be established.

The Article 145.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

All evidence shall be assessed as to its relevance, credibility and reliability. The content of all evidence collected for the purposes of prosecution shall be assessed in terms of whether it is sufficient to substantiate the charge.

According to the Article 145.3 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic,

 

If suspicions which emerge during the process of proving the charge cannot be removed by other evidence, they shall be interpreted in favour of the suspect or accused.

 

As stipulated above, there was insufficient evidential matter in this criminal case. According to the Article 146.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic,

 

The notion that sufficient evidence has been collected for the prosecution means that the amount of evidence on the facts to be determined is such as to allow a reliable and final conclusion to be reached on the case.

 

The defendants’ guilt was not proven and the doubts were not used in their favour at the trial.

Bearing the above in mind, it can be concluded that in the absence of a clear and sufficient evidential basis, the defendants’ right to liberty was violated.

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Razi Humbatov – unlawful imprisonment

Razi Humbatov – unlawful imprisonment

Razi Humbatov

Analysis of violation of law during Razi Humbatov’s judicial proceedings

Baku City Narimanov District Court

Case № 4(005)-684/2021

8 Juky 2021

Judge: Vusal Qurbanov

Defendant: Razi Humbatov

Defenders: Azizaga Aliyev, Javad Javadov

State Prosecutor: Ahad Najafov, a prosecutor of the Investigation Unit of the Department Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic

 

Razi Humbatov, a member of the political opposition “Muslim Unity” organisation, was detained in the village of Jeyranbatan in the Absheron district on 7 July 2021. He had been fighting against narco-addiction and campaigning for a healthy lifestyle for young people within the framework of his political and public activities. It is worth recalling that the police detained the Chairman of “Muslim Unity”, Taleh Bagirov, as well as all the members of the “Muslim Unity” Board and about 70 residents of the Nardaran settlement, 40 km from Baku, in the course of the police operation on 26 November 2015. Presently, Taleh Bagirov and several members of the organisation, sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (from 14 to 20 years), are being held in the Gobustan maximum security prison. T.Bagirov has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

While Razi Humbatov was in the Interior Ministry’s Department for Combating Organized Crime, his own chosen lawyer, Javad Javadov, was not allowed to see him. In an interview with “Voice of America” on the radio, the lawyer said,

“In spite of my request to meet with my client, I did not receive q permission to see him. I plan to prepare a complaint for judicial review, as well as an appeal against the restraint order”. – https://www.amerikaninsesi.org/a/müsəlman-birliyi-hərəkatının-üzvü-saxlanılıb-/5959473.html

Razi Humbatov was charged with an offence under the Article 234.4.3 (Large-scale drug trafficking) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

On 8 July 2021, at the closed court proceedings, the Baku City Narimanov District Court, having considered the matter of application of a preventive measure, ordered that R. Humbatov be detained in custody for a period of four months.

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. According to the Article 28 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic,

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

This right is enshrined in both National Law and International Treaties. For example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states in the Article 5:

  • 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:

(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.

According to the Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

The Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also prohibits arbitrary arrest.

In the Article 153 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states:

153.1. Upon apprehension of any person, the prosecuting authority shall be obliged to ensure his rights under this Code, as well as under the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic “On ensuring the rights and freedoms of persons held in places of detention” for suspects or accused persons, depending on their legal status.

Under the Article 153.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic, the rights of the detainee, that the personnel of the body conducting the criminal proceedings and the temporary detention facilities are obliged to ensure, and they are:

153.2.1. inform the detainee immediately after detaining him of the grounds for detention, and explain to him his right not to testify against himself and his close relatives as well as his right to the assistance of defence counsel;

153.2.2. take the detainee without delay to the police or other preliminary investigating authority’s temporary detention facility, register the detention, draw up a record and show him the detention record;

153.2.3. report each instance of detention, immediately after registration in the temporary detention facility, to the head of the appropriate preliminary investigating authority and to the prosecutor in charge of the procedural aspects of the investigation (this information shall be given in writing within 12 hours of detention);

153.2.4. secure the right of the person to inform others of his detention immediately after detention (the authority in charge of the temporary detention facility, on his own initiative, shall inform the family members of any detainees who are elderly, under age or unable to do so themselves because of their mental state);

153.2.5. provide opportunities for the person, from the moment of detention, to meet in private and in confidence with his lawyer and legal representative under decent conditions and under supervision;

153.2.6. if the detainee does not have a lawyer of his own, present him with a list of lawyers from the bar association offices in the vicinity of the temporary detention facility, contact the chosen lawyer and create an opportunity for the detainee to meet him;

153.2.7. if the financial position of the detainee does not enable him to retain a lawyer at his own expense, create an opportunity for him to meet the duty lawyer from one of the bar association offices in the vicinity of the temporary detention facility, at the state’s expense;

153.2.8. if the detainee refuses the services of a lawyer, receive his written request to that effect (if he evades writing the request, a record to that effect shall be drawn up between the lawyer and the representative of the temporary detention facility);

153.2.9. secure the right of any person who does not know the language of the criminal proceedings to use the services of an interpreter free of charge;

153.2.10. not treat the detainee in a way that fails to respect his personality or dignity, and pay special attention to women and persons who are under age, elderly, ill or disabled;

153.2.11. take the restrictive measure of arrest in respect of the detainee, and bring him to court in good time in order to ensure that the question of forcibly sending him to the place where the sentence or other final court decision is to be executed, replacing the penalty given to him with another or repealing his suspended sentence or conditional release is settled within the time limits provided for in Articles 148 and 150-152 of this Code.

Razi Humbatov was deprived of a number of his aforementioned rights. He was not informed at the time of his arrest of the reasons for his detention, his relatives were not made aware of his arrest, and the lawyer of his choice was not allowed to meet him.

There were no specific grounds in the court order that would justify the application of the most rigorous preventive measure, such as arrest.

The grounds justifying a preventive measure in the form of arrest could only be those set out in the Article 155 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic, namely:

  • hidden from the prosecuting authority;
  • obstructed the normal course of the investigation or court proceedings by illegally influencing parties to the criminal proceedings, hiding material significant to the prosecution or engaging in falsification;
  • committed a further act provided for in criminal law or created a public threat;
  • failed to comply with a summons from the prosecuting authority, without good reason, or otherwise evaded criminal responsibility or punishment;
  • prevented execution of a court judgment.

The court order states the following grounds regarding the detention: hiding from the body conducting the criminal proceedings, obstructing the normal course of the preliminary investigation or court proceedings by means of illegal pressure on persons involved in criminal proceedings, concealing or falsifying materials relevant to criminal proceedings, recommitting an offence punishable by the criminal law or representing a danger to society, failure to attend without a valid excuse when summoned by the body conducting the criminal proceedings or otherwise evading criminal responsibility and serving the sentence, the identity of the accused, the nature and gravity of the incriminated offence, the intended sentence of more than 2 years.

Apparently, the court cited all the grounds set out in the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic Articles, but it did not provide reasons or evidence that these grounds actually occurred in Razi Humbatov’s case.

In proclaiming the right to liberty, this Article refers to personal freedom in its classical sense, that is, the physical freedom of the individual. In order to determine whether a person is deprived of his or her liberty, it is necessary to take into account his or her specific situation and all the criteria, such as the type of offence, the length of imprisonment, the consequences and detention conditions of the measure in question. By virtue of the principle of an exhaustive list of cases in which a person may be deprived of liberty, detention is in conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms only if this measure is applicable to one of the 5 cases listed exhaustively in the Article 5 of the European Convention. The list provided in this article cannot be interpreted in a broad manner, which greatly limits States’ flexibility.

Further, for deprivation of liberty to be compatible with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, it must meet two conditions: lawfulness and legitimacy. Thus, the deprivation of liberty must first and foremost be lawful in terms of domestic law; in this respect, it is incumbent on the national judicial authorities to interpret domestic law in a particular area. That law must nevertheless be in conformity with the European Convention and the general principles enshrined in the European Convention must be respected. In particular, the domestic process must be fair and appropriate. The deprivation of liberty must also be justified, i.e. it must be in line with the purpose of one of the cases included in the exhaustive list contained in the article in question (European Court of Human Rights case law, Michele da Silva, 2004, St. Petersburg).

Razi Humbatov’s disappearance and the lack of any information concerning his whereabouts within 24 hours is in violation of the Article 5 of the European Convention, which is the responsibility of the state authorities.

In the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Kurt v. Turkey, dated on 25 May 1998, the ECHR assessed the applicant’s disappearance as follows, “121. The Commission believes that the disappearance of the applicant’s son raises fundamental and very serious concerns in the light of the Article 5. The guarantees provided by this Article are essential to ensure the human rights set out in the Articles 2 and 3. If it is established that Yüzeyir Kurt was detained by the security forces on 25 November 1993, the responsibility for the subsequent fate of the applicant’s son lies within the Turkish authorities. The Government could rebut the presumption by providing a credible and substantiated explanation for Eüzeyir Kurt’s disappearance and evidence that the authorities had taken effective steps to investigate the reasons for his disappearance and their subsequent fate. Комиссия пришла к выводу о том, что ни одно из этих требований не выполнено. For this reason, the Commission concludes that the unconfirmed fact of Yüzeyir Kurt’s detention by the security forces and his subsequent disappearance is a clear violation of the human rights provided for in the Article 5 of the Convention.” –

In the paragraph 122 of the European Court of Human Rights judgment it is written, “The Court underlines the fundamental significance of the human rights protections, contained in the Article 5, against unlawful arrest or detention by the authorities in a democratic society. It is for that reason that the Court has repeatedly emphasized in its judgments that any deprivation of liberty must not only be in accordance with the substantive procedural rules of National Law but also meet the purposes of the Article 5, i.e. to protect the individual from arbitrariness on the part of the State authorities. This imperative requirement to protect an individual against any kind of abuse by the authorities is confirmed by the fact that Article 5(1) confines the circumstances under which a person may be lawfully deprived of his liberty, although these grounds cannot be interpreted vaguely, since they are exemptions from the fundamental human freedom guarantees”.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/fre#{“fulltext”:[“Kurt”],”itemid”:[“001-58198”]}

In view of the above, we conclude that the arrest of Razi Humbatov lacked any legitimate intention, did not comply with the requirements of National and International Laws, and also contradicted the European Court of Human Rights precedents, which are of a recommendatory nature for the Council of Europe member states.

 

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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.” –

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.” –

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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There should be no political prisoners’ defenders in the Bar Association of the Azerbaijan Republic

There should be no political prisoners’ defenders in the Bar Association of the Azerbaijan Republic

Shahla Humbatova

Analysis of violation of law during Shahla Humbatova’s judicial proceedings

Baku City Administrative Court 

Case №2-1 (112)-620/2021

5 March 2021  

Judge:  Aytan Orujzade

Plaintiff: the Azerbaijan Republic Bar Association 

Representative of the plaintiff: Ilhama Hasanova

Defendant: Shahla Humbatova

Defendant’s representative and attorney: Elchin Sadigov 

Shahla Humbatova, who previously worked for various international organizations, has been a member of the Azerbaijan Republic Bar Association since 2014. Humbatova has defended many public and political figures, as well as journalists. Sh.Humbatova had been an attorney of a well-known human rights activist Intiqam Aliyev, the chairman of the “ReAl” Party Ilqar Mammadov, also a journalist Seymur Hazi. She had participated in the defence of those arrested in the so-called “Nardaran” and “Ganja” cases, and defended a famous blogger Mehman Huseynov, the civil society activists who had been arrested on charges of administrative offenses, as well as the LGBT representatives, women from the Feminist Movement and many other opposition activists arrested on political grounds. She had also been a representative of citizens whose homes had been illegally demolished on Sovetskaya street in Baku downtown. As a lawyer, Shahla Humbatova has participated in numerous international conferences on the protection of human rights. As a lawyer, Shahla Humbatova has participated in numerous international conferences on the protection of human rights.

The Bar Association of the Azerbaijan Republic’s biased attitude towards her was manifested in 2018, when she defended the well-known blogger Mehman Huseynov. In December 2018, two months prior to the end of M. Huseynov’s sentence, a new criminal case was initiated against the blogger, regarding an attack on the penal institution employee, in which he had been held. Then M. Huseynov went on a hunger strike, and the lawyer had a meeting with her client in the colony. The Ministry of Justice’s official statement with regard to the blogger’s good health did not correspond to reality. During the meeting the lawyer stated that his health had deteriorated, the veins on his legs had ruptured and some other complications had been arisen and noticed. On the day of their meeting in the colony, M. Huseynov asked Sh. Humbatova to inform the public of his real state of health, which the lawyer did by posting the content on the social network Facebook. Thereafter, Sh. Humbatova faced pressure from the authorities. She was summoned by the Chairman of the Bar Association, Anar Bagirov, who demanded Sh. Humbatova to report to the press only those information that the state structures had previously provided. The Chairman also warned Sh. Humbatova that if she continued to act as she did before, she would be subjected to appropriate measures.

In January 2019, the European Parliament demanded the release of Mehman Huseynov from the Azerbaijani authorities, and in Baku, there was a rally demanding the blogger’s freedom on 19 January 2019. In late January 2019, during the Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Humbatova was called to an event related to the protection of human rights, at which the members of the event were discussing the case of the arrested blogger Mehman Huseynov. As a result of both domestic and international pressure, the second criminal case against M. Huseynov was discontinued. On 2 March 2019, M. Huseynov was released upon completion of his first sentence.

Right after that, Shahla Humbatova has been facing many obstacles, when visiting places of detention.

In April 2019, Sh. Humbatova addressed with an official letter to the Bar Association, in which she pointed out at the fact that she had been prevented from visiting her clients in the detention facilities. In her letter, Sh. Humbatova asked the Chairman of Association to help her and assist in resolving this issue. However, the lawyer did not receive any response to her request.

Next, Shahla Humbatova wrote a crucial post on Facebook regarding the created obstacles to visiting her defendants, after which she received a call from the Bar Association Chairman, Anar Bagirov, who accused her in rude manner (shouting) of lying. On the following day, she received a phone call from the Bar Association informing her that the disciplinary proceedings against her had been initiated. Later, it became known that the complaint was related to the case of Mehman Huseynov. It caused a firestorm of discussion on social networks. The International organizations made strong statements concerning the initiated harassment against the lawyer and pointed out the previous expulsions of lawyers from the Bar, who defended the rights of political prisoners: Alaif Hasanov, Khalid Bagirov, Yalchin Imanov and some others.

On 27 November 2019, the Presidium of the Bar Association, following the complaint of the citizen R. Qurbanova, considered the decision of the Disciplinary Commission and made a decision to apply to the court requesting the termination of Shahla Humbatova’s lawyer’s practice. According to the complaint against Sh. Humbatova, she submitted false documents to the court, obtained money from applicants in public catering places, failed to attend the trial without a valid reason, and has not paid her membership fee to the Bar Association for the past 6 months. In accordance with the Bar Association’s statement, the citizen R. Qurbanova paid 1.300 manat to Sh. Humbatova to attend the trial and submit requests, but the lawyer failed to give R. Qurbanova a corresponding payment receipt, and also asked her to sign a blank form. Furthermore, R. Qurbanova stated that the lawyer had submitted to the court documents about the fee in the amount of 3,000 manat.

The Bar Association appealed to the Anti-Corruption Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic to investigate that complaint. Shahla Humbatova announced that she had not received any official notification from the Department. The only call from the Department she received was to inform her that they had received some material, which was being investigated. Sh. Humbatova refused to testify. On 28 November 2019, the Bar Association made a decision to suspend Sh. Humbatova’s lawyer practice.

Shahla Humbatova commented on the Bar Association’s statement as,

“I signed a contract with this citizen for 3,000 manats, the receipt for the same amount was given to her, but that woman, having cheated me, paid only 1,000 manats. No one suffered any kind of loss but me. They are trying to fabricate a case on such an absurd issue”.

On 5 March 2021 the Baku City Administrative Court ruled to expel the lawyer Shahla Humbatova from the Azerbaijan Bar Association.

It should be noted that on 4 March 2020, Sh. Humbatova was awarded the “Brave Women” International award on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. The Bar Association’s lawsuit against Shahla Humbatova there are two grounds on which the Bar Association made a decision to expel S. Humbatova from the Bar Association:

  • failure to pay membership fees for a period of 6 months;
  • unethical lawyer’s conduct based on a citizen’s complaint and it may undermine the lawyer’s reputation.

Sh. Humbatova found out about the membership fee arrears only through the complaint. In the complaint, it was stated that she had familiarized herself with the materials of the disciplinary proceedings and that they allegedly contained the financial department’s request for arrears on membership fees. But in reality, Sh. Humbatova has read the disciplinary materials including only Rukhsara Qurbanova’s complaint (it was handwritten in Russian) and the Baku City Yasamal District Court materials, and there was no information on the arrears on membership fees. She was not informed about the arrears of membership fees by the representative of Bar Association, Ilhama Hasanova, with whom she repeatedly spoke over the phone. The issue of arrears was not a subject of discussion between Sh. Humbatova and the Bar Association. Sh. Humbatova was not informed about the arrears till the expiration of six months. On 29 November 2019, all arrears of membership fees were paid by Sh. Humbatova, and there is a corresponding receipt from the bank.

According to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan On lawyers and legal practice,

“I. Advocacy in the Azerbaijan Republic is an independent legal institution that professionally carries out legal defense practice.”

According to the Article 3 of the above mentioned Law,

“The main objectives of advocacy are the protection of rights, freedoms and legally protected interests of individuals and legal entities and the provision of high quality legal aid to them”.

It is known, that Shahla Humbatova defended many political prisoners, “prisoners of conscience”, she is reputable among the international attorneys, she defended her clients in good faith and competently and never had to face such problems.

The Article 5 of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic On lawyers and legal practice states,

“Advocacy shall be carried out on the basis of the priority of human and civil rights and freedoms, the rule of law, independence of lawyers, voluntary relations between lawyers and persons seeking their legal assistance, regardless of their race, nationality, religion, language, gender, origin, property status, official position, beliefs, political parties, trade unions and other public associations membership, and in compliance with legal ethics.”

There are disciplinary measures that can be imposed on lawyers enumerated in the Article 22 of the Law On lawyers and legal practice,

  • notice;
  • reprimand;
  • prohibition to practice law for a period from three months to one year;
  • exclusion from the Bar.

The court did not clarify the reason why the plaintiff (the Bar Association) had requested the court to impose the harshest disciplinary measure against the lawyer, namely expulsion from the Bar.

According to the Article 2 of the Regulation on Advocates’ Conduct, the advocates are independent and subject to the requirements of the law only. The main requirement is a lawyer being fully independent with regard to his/her conduct.

Under the Article 6 (1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Shahla Humbatova was entitled to a fair trial. However, she was deprived of that right, the trial was conducted in a biased manner. In this case, as in many others related to the lawyers’ human rights exclusion from the Azerbaijan Republic Bar Association, the independence of the court could only be questioned. It can be demonstrated even by the outward signs of the trial.

Furthermore, along with a violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) was also violated.

As to the effectiveness of a remedy, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) jurisprudence has clarified that it does not depend, in terms of the purposes of the Article 13, on an unambiguous predetermination of a favorable outcome. The European Convention stipulates that remedies should generally be effective, both in practice and in law, in particular that their use should not be unreasonably hindered by the acts or, on the contrary, by the omissions of the national authorities. The European Court of Human Rights stated this principle in its judgment of 25 May 1998 in the case of Kurt v. Turkey. http://www.echr.ru/documents/doc/2461485/2461485.htm

Considering all of the above, we can come to the conclusion that the pressure on human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan has still not stopped. The European Court of Human Rights is currently hearing more than one complaint by human rights lawyers who have been expelled from the Bar Association for their practice. Moreover, there are already ECHR decisions on similar cases (decisions on the following lawyers complaints – Intiqam Aliyev, Annagi Hajibeyli, Khalid Bagirov and some others). Despite this, the Azerbaijani National courts are neither guided in their practice by the National Law, nor by the Norms of International Law, nor by the recommendations of International bodies. They also do not follow the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, which are recommendatory for the Council of Europe member states.

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