Category: Trials 2019



04 January

According to the agencies Turan and Faktxeber, the trial of 11 people arrested in connection with the July 2018 Ganja events began in the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes chaired by the Judge Faiq Mahmudov. The 11 accused are: Maarif Hajiyev, Shahlar Rzayev, Ruslan Hasanov, Tural Bayramov, Nizami Akbarov, Kamal Maharramov, Seymur Aliyev, Togrul Verdiyev, Orkhan Yagnaliyev, Araz Hasanov, and Vaqif Ashrafov. All of them are charged under the Articles 220.1 (riots) and 315.2 (use of violence against an official authority) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

According to the official version, a criminal case was initiated in connection with a pre-planned terrorist act committed on 03 July 2018 against the Head of the Ganja Executive Power Elmar Valiyev and the police officer Gasym Ashbazov. And also, on the 10 July, the murder of two police officers by a group of radically minded religious people who provoked mass riots in support of this terrorist attack. In connection with the Ganja events, 77 people were brought to criminal responsibility and 11 more people were on the wanted list. By early 2019, four cases involving 36 people had been referred to the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. Despite the fact that, according to the legislation the hearing was to be held in the city of Ganja, the judges of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes went to Baku, and the trial was held in the building of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku.     

08 January

According to the Azadliq newspaper article, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan has considered the cassation appeal of the deputy head of the Muslim Unity Movement Elchin Gasymov, and 12 other believers. However, just the accused Isa Ibrahimov, was brought before a judge. He was accused of attempted coup d’йtat, possession of firearms and many other crimes. The accused believer pointed out that at the time of the events in the village of Nardaran on  November 2015, he was abroad making a pilgrimage. Upon his return, he was arrested at the border. But the court rejected all the filed appeals. Presently, the lawyers, on their behalf of the accused prepare a complaint to the ECHR.

10 January

Another trial in connection with the Ganja events in July 2018 began in the Sabunchi District Court of Baku, under the presiding judge Elchin Hasmammadov of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. This time, it concerned a group of 11 people – Kamal Gudrat oglu Quliyev, Raul Fazil oglu Suleymanov, Ulvi Saladdin oglu Hasanov, Vugar Rauf oglu Allahverdiyev, Samir Ramiz oglu Ibrahimov, Hayal Khalig oglu Gafarov, Ali Huseyn oglu Rzayev, Rauf Arif oglu Gurbanzade, Mirashgin Nazim oglu Seyidov, Kamala Gabil oglu Mammatagiyev and Gadir Fazil oglu Huseynov. All of them are charged with crimes under Articles 220.1. (riots) and 315.2. (use of violence against a representative of power) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. 17 people were recognized as victims.

12 January

Vahid Abilov, a believer from the Christian community of Yehovah’s Witnesses, refused to serve in the army against conscientious objection and declared his willingness to perform alternative service instead of military one. On 06 September 2018, he was sentenced to 1 year’s conditional imprisonment for this refusal. On 31 October 2018, the Ganja Court of Appeal rejected his complaint and the sentence was enforced. According to the Norwegian organization Forum 18, Vahid Abilov appealed to the Supreme Court against his conviction on 12 January 2019.

15 January

The Baku Court on Grave Crimes, the presiding Judge Rahib Salmanov, completed the trial in the case of 40-year-old resident of Baku Eldaniz Mammadov, nicknamed Abu Jihad, accused of participation in illegal armed groups taking part in combat operations in Syria. According to the Meydan TV and the Veten ugrunda agency, E. Mammadov has been fighting in Syria since 2012 being a very popular blogger especially among the faithful Azerbaijani believers. He was arrested by Turkish law enforcement authorities at the end of 2016 and deported to Azerbaijan on 10 September 2017. His trial began in May 2018. Eldaniz Mammadov was sentenced to 15 years and 6 months imprisonment

Older Posts »



Tural Allahverdiyev

13 February

According to the agency Turan and the Caucasus Knot website religious activist Tural Allahverdiyev, known on facebook as Tural Divana, was detained by unknown people in civil clothes at his home and taken to an unknown location on February, 13. His neighbours were witnessing a detention. There was no information about him for 24 hours. On the evening of 14 February his family was informed by the police officers that T. Allahverdiyev had been arrested for a 20-day-period under the Article 535.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disobedience to legitimate demands of the police representative) by decision of the Baku Binagadi Court.

On social networks Allahverdiyev is known for his calls to assist in gathering donations for political prisoners’ families and purchasing school supplies for their children. He also protested against use of torture of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM) leader, Tale Bagirzade, and religious activists Abbas Huseynov and Jabbar Jabbarov in Gobustan prison. 

18 February

Telman Shiraliyev, the “last prisoner of the hijab”, has been released. He was arrested for his participation in a protest demanding to drop the ban on wearing hijab in schools, which took place in front of the Ministry of Education on 05 October 2012.  Telman Shiraliyev was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. In early October 2018, he refused to write an appeal for clemency. On 22 October 2018, a week prior his release, an awl was “found” under his pillow, and on 20 December, 2018, that fact led him to another sentence of 5 months and 18 days in jail. According to Radio Azadliq announcement, he filed an appeal and, on 18 February 2019, Khatai District Court granted the complaint and Telman Shiraliyev was released.

22 February

The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes considered the case of a group of 11 defendants on the events in Ganja in June, 2018. The trial took place in the building of the Sabunchi District Court in Baku. All defendants found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for crimes under the Article 220.1. (riots) and 315.2. (resistance or use of violence against a representative of power with the use of violence dangerous to life or health) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic

  •   Maarif Hajiyev to 9 years imprisonment;
  •   Shahlar Rzayev to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment;

2.   Ruslan Hasanov to 8 years imprisonment;

3. Tural Bayramov to 8 years imprisonment;

4. Nizami Akbarov to 8 years imprisonment;

5. Kamal Maharramov to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment;

6. Araz Hasanov to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment;

7. Togrul Verdiyev to 8 years imprisonment;

8. Orhan Yagnaliev to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment;

9.   Seymour Aliyev to 8 years imprisonment;

10.   Vaqif Ashrafov to 7 years and 6 months.

The same day the Baku Court of Appeal considered Bakhtiyar Bagirov’s complaint, an activist of the MUM. According to Turan agency, it finally became clear that although he was detained on 06 February, the police officially declared his detention as on 11February. On 11 February, the Narimanov District Court in Baku sentenced Bakhtiyar Bagirov to 15-day-administrative arrest on charges of petty hooliganism. In the court the police representatives stated that the accused had been walking on the street and cursing.

According to B. Bagirov, he was kidnapped in front of his friend Fikrat Mammadov, who  immediately reported the incident to the 102nd service of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and ombudsman office. However, the law enforcement officials did not provide any information to either Bagirov’s family or his lawyer.

During the trial, the lawyer of the accused, Javad Javadov, petitioned for questioning of the arrested F.Mammadov’s friend in court, as well as for watching videos received from the cameras installed on the building of “Araz” supermarket and other located facilities nearby. However, all these requests were denied by the court.

What happened to the arrested believer during his six-day-stay at the General Department for Combating Organized Crime in Baku was also an important issue. According to B. Bagirov, all these days he had been constantly beaten up by 5-6 people. He assumed the torture was related to  some video material distribution that he published on a social network. The video demonstrated the protest against the use of torture and other violations against Tale Bagirzade and Abbas Huseynov rights. But the Judge Hasan Ahmadov rejected Bakhtiyar Bagirov’s complaint.

23 February

According to the Veten ugrunda agency, the trial of 6 arrested in connection with the Ganja events in July 2018 began in Ganja Court on Grave Crimes under the chairmanship of Judge Khagani Samadov. The defendants were Elvin Allahverdiyev, Elvin Nazarov, Renat Mammadov, Vugar Khudiyev, Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly. All the accused were charged with a crime under the Article 220.1. (riots) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. Two defendants (Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly) were also charged with committing crimes under the Article 315.2 (use of violence dangerous to life or health against a representative of the authorities performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code.

All the defendants did not have any financial means to hire lawyers and were therefore assigned public defenders. Though the assigned defenders preferred to remain silent or consent with a judge and prosecutor.

Moreover, the lawyers either did not file a complaint or protest against the accused being handcuffed during the trial. On the question of the agency’s journalists who were at the court, the lawyers replied as they were prosecutors, “If you remove the shackles, they will do something and then who is going to be responsible for it?”

Older Posts »



01 March

The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes under chairmanship of the Judge Khagani Samadov held the final trial in the case of 6 more defendants connected to the Ganja events of July 2018. The trial took place in the premises of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku. Four defendants (Elvin Allahverdiyev, Elvin Nazarov, Renat Mammadov and Vugar Khudiyev) were charged with an offence under the Article 220.1. (riots) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. The two accused, Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly, were charged with committing crimes under the Articles 220.1. and 315.2. (use of violence dangerous to life or health against a representative of the authorities performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Journalists were not allowed into the court room and they were obliged to receive information from their relatives.

All the defendants were unable to hire lawyers, instead they were obliged to accept state-controlled lawyers who remained on the sidelines. Moreover, the accused Elvin Nazarov’s lawyer Logman Abdullayev did not assist his client at the final trial of the court!

As expected, the accused defended themselves talking about torture and other violations of their rights during the arrest and investigation but the court turned a deaf ear to all their complaints, found all six accused guilty.

On 15 March 2019, the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes sentenced this group of defendants:

1.  Elvin Allahverdiyev to 7 years imprisonment;
2. Elvin Nazarov to 7 years imprisonment;
3.  Vugar Khudiyev to 7 years imprisonment;
4.  Renat Mammadov to 6 years imprisonment;
5. Elman Rustamov to 8 years’ imprisonment;

6.  Neymat Heydarly to 8 years imprisonment.

06 March

Firudin Zeynalov

The Ganja Court of Appeal considered the complaint of the convicted activist of the Muslim Unity Movement Firudin Zeynalov.  In October 2017, along with 6 other believers he was arrested after the police crackdown on the Ashura religious ceremony near the “Imamzade” sanctuary in Ganja. Zeynalov was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on 01 November 2018.

F. Zeynalov and his lawyer Zabil Qahramanov repeatedly filed appeals to various courts but each time it was rejected.

In turn, the law enforcement officers brought another charge against him for participation in the murder and terrorist act in Ganja in July 2018. The human rights activists in the country treated this statement as absurd and politically inclined, they stated: “How could a person in custody commit a crime nine months after his arrest?”   The political motives of his persecution are not doubtful anymore.  Nevertheless, an invetigation into the participation of the convicted person long before the July events continues.

And the trial ended as expected: the Judge Shamil Rzaquliyev rejected the complaint of the convicted person and recognized the previous courts decisions.    

15 March

Another case of July 2018 events in Ganja was completed in The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. This time, it concerned a group of seven people: Yavar Ismayilzade, Zabil Mammadov, Ganbar Garazade, Elvin Aliyev, Isa Maharramzade, Aydyn Rustamov, and Alim Yusifov. By the legislation, the court was to be held in Ganja city but the judges of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes went to Baku and the trial took place in the building of Sabunchi district court of Baku city.  

All the accused were charged under the Articles 120.2.3 (premeditated murder of the victim in connection with the performance of his official duties or public duty), 120.2.7 (premeditated murder of two or more persons), 220.1 (organization of riots), 221.3 (hooliganism committed with the use of weapons or objects used as weapons), 228.4 (illegal acquisition, sale or carrying of gas weapons, cold weapons, including throwing knives) and 315.2 (use of violence dangerous for life or health against authority representative performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

In the course of the judicial investigation, all the defendants revealed that they had been subjected to torture during the preliminary investigation.   However, the court disregarded these statements and ruled out legal proceedings.

On 15 March 2019, the verdict “of guilty” was given by the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. According to the sentence, the defendants were sentenced:

  • Yavar Ismayilzade to 9 years imprisonment;
  • Zabil Mammadov to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment;
  • Ganbar Garazade to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment;
  • Elvin Aliyev to 6 years and 6 months imprisonment;
  • Isa Maharramzade to 8 years imprisonment;
  • Aydyn Rustamov to 8 years imprisonment;
  • Alim Yusifov to 7years and 6 months imprisonment.

25 March

Another hearing began in connection to the Ganja event of July 2018 under the chairmanship of Judge Natiq Aliyev. This time it concerned a group of 8 people. Once again, it was a law violation since the court was held outside the city of Ganja, in the building of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku.


Urfan Mammadov

First, one of the accused, Urfan Mammadov, made a statement at the trial. He was charged under the Article 21 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. Also, the charges under the Articles 120.2.1 (premeditated murder committed by a group of people), 120.2.11 (premeditated murder connected with robbery, extortion, terrorism, or banditry), 214.2.6 (preparation of acts of terrorism on the basis of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 220.1 (organization of riots accompanied by violence and pogroms), 228.3 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons committed by an organized group), 278.2 (forcible seizure of power, commission of actions aimed at violent change of the constitutional order of the Azerbaijan Republic, including its secular character or violation of territorial integrity, or forcible seizure of power on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 279.1-1 (organization of armed formations, participation in the formations or groups on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism) and 281.2 (public appeals against the State, committed repeatedly by the accused or a group of people).

Later his relatives told the journalists of the agency Veten ugrunda, on 23 July 2018, Urfan Mammadov was summoned to the Nizami police station in Ganja, where he was arrested and tortured. He was brutally beaten and electrocuted; several times electric shocks  were used on his genitals. When he fainted, the water was poured over in order to make him regain his consciousness. And then they continued beating him again. Being unconscious and handcuffed Mammadov was dragged to the office of Adalat Sadigov, the Head of the Nizami police station in Ganja. Sadigov ruthlessly scolded Urfan Mammadov, then personally tortured him to get his confessions and make him sign an interrogation protocol frightening him with even more brutal torture and humiliation.

His relatives also told the journalists that the signs of torture were visible and, at the trial Urfan requested an expertise but the court denied his demand, as well as other motions of the accused.

Besides the use of torture by the Head of the Ganja police department Adalat Sadigov, mockery and torture of the accused was committed by Orkhan Babayev, an investigator of the Investigative Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.

Rauf Bayramov

Then the floor was given to Rauf Bayramov, a resident of Ziyadli village of Samukh district. He was detained on charges of participation in the Ganja events on 23 July 2018. As in this case, after the trial the detainee’s told the Veten ugrunda agency journalists that the arrested people were brought to Nizami police department of Ganja city and subjected to brutal beatings. As a result of beatings “his father started to spit up blood. Electrical current was regularly passed through his entire body, and fingers were clamped in locksmith vises”. Then both of them were transferred to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Baku, where Orkhan Babayev, an investigator, continued to torture the detainees. As a result, Rauf Bayramov could not stand the torture and signed up all requested by the investigator O. Babayev papers.

Rauf Bayramov’s 22-year-old son Huseyn was arrested on 01 September 2018 and subjected to brutal torture, too. According to their relatives, an investigator Orhan Babayev first  had threatened to throw Hussein out of the window, and then proceeded with a truncheon beating. The Bayramov’s father and son, were also charged under the Article 21 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic.

Older Posts »



10 April

Emil Mehtiev

On 10 April 2019, on the website of the Criminal Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic it was published the decision on the case #1(102)-430/2019 concerning Emil Mehdiyev (d.o.b. 12/12/1999 ) from the Jehovah’s Witnesses community.

After being drafted for the military service in December 2017,  Emil Mehdiyev declared his conscientious objection to compulsory military service and his willingness to perform alternative civilian service instead.  In response, on 6 July 2018, the Barda District Court found E. Mehdiyev guilty under the Article 321.1 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (“Refusal without legal grounds from the military service or mobilization call-up in order to avoid military service”) and sentenced him to one year of suspended imprisonment with a probationary period of one year. During this time, Mehdiyev must report to the authorities every week and remains subject to travel restrictions.

The believer appealed his sentence but the Ganja Appeal Court rejected his application on 08 October 2018. On 10 December 10, 2018, E. Mehdiyev appealed against the criminal conviction to the Supreme Court. On 10 April, during the trial presided over by Judge Tahir Kazimov, Yashar Musayev, the lawyer of the convicted, pointed out that a verdict of guilty contradicted the Article 76.2 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic (“If performing military service contradicts the citizens’ beliefs, then, according to the law, it is allowed to replace it by an alternative service”) and the international obligations assumed by the state, and therefore the verdict of guilty should be annulled. However, the judge Tahir Kazimov denied the appeal on the basis of the Article 76.1 of the Constitution (“Homeland protection is the duty of every citizen”), deliberately failing to pay attention to the next paragraph of this Article, which clearly indicates the possibility of substituting military service by an alternative one.

24 April

Vahid Abilov

On 24 April 2019, a judgment concerning Vahid Abilov (d.o.b. 02/05/1999) from the  Jehovah’s Witnesses community, a case #1(102) -583/2019, was published on the website of the Criminal Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic.

After being drafted into the military service in May 2017, Vahid Abilov announced his conscientious objection to military service and his willingness to perform an alternative civil service instead. In response, on 09 July 2018, V. Abilov was accused of avoiding military service. His case was transferred to the Agdam District Court and, on 06 September 2018, V. Abilov was found guilty under the Article 321.1 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (“Refusal without legal grounds from the military service or mobilization call-up with the purpose of avoiding military service”) and sentenced to one year of suspended imprisonment with a probation period of one year. During this time, Abilov must report to the authorities every week and remains subject to travel restrictions. The believer appealed his sentence but the Ganja Court of Appeal rejected his application on 31 October 2018. On 12 January 2019, Vahid Abilov appealed a verdict of guilty to the Supreme Court.

During the trial on 10 April under the chairmanship of the judge Hafiz Nasibov, Yashar Musayev, the lawyer of the convicted, stated that the verdict of guilty contradicted to the Article 76.2 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic (“If performing military service contradicts the citizens’ beliefs, then, according to the law, it is allowed to replace it by an alternative service”) and also to the Article 9   (“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion”) of the European Convention on Human Rights and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, especially the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights dated on  July 7, 2011 (The case of Bayatyan v. Armenia).  Therefore, on the basis of the above, the lawyer has pointed out that the verdict of guilty should be annulled.

However, the judge Hafiz Nasibov denied the appeal on the basis of the Article 76.1 of the Constitution (“Homeland protection is the duty of every citizen”),  сdeliberately failing to pay attention to the next paragraph of this Article, which clearly indicates the possibility of substituting military service by an alternative one. The judge also pointed out that the case of the believer Bayatyan versus Armenia could not be considered as a serious argument due to the fact that, unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan became a victim of aggression and, therefore, the duty of every citizen of Azerbaijan to serve in the army.

30 April

Judge of the Ganja Court of Appeal Elchin Hasmammadov

According to the agency Veten ugrunda and the employees of the Institute of Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, on 30 April, there had been a complaint hearing of a group of 11 convicted people on the so-called “Ganja case” at the Baku Court of Appeal under the chairmanship of the Judge of the Ganja Court of Appeal Elchin Hasmammadov.  On 22 February 2019, the Ganja Court of Serious Crimes found them guilty of committing crimes under the Article 220.1. (mass riots) and 315.2 (resistance or use of violence dangerous to life or health against a representative of power) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced them from 7 to10 years imprisonment.

One of the convicted, Mireshgin Seyidov, did not file an appeal. Since he lost his parents in childhood, his relatives have been taking care of his affairs; nevertheless, they did not file a complaint by unknown reasons, and therefore he was not in attendance at that meeting.

10 convicts filed complaints, and the lawyers have presently raised the question as to what extend it was a serious violation of the law during the investigation.   Thus, Nizami Musayev, the lawyer of the convicted Ali Rzayev, pointed out that his client had been arrested by the police about 2 hours prior to the Ganja events. However, the detention records showed that he had been detained at 21:30. There are many similar examples in Rzayev’s case and, therefore, the lawyer demanded to reconsider his case again. Other lawyers also pointed to major examples of flagrant violations of the procedural law in their clients’ cases.

However, it turned out that the public prosecutor Adalat Azimov had not been familiar with the convicted cases, which did not prevent him from stating that the court should reject the complaints filed. That caused the strongest discontent among the convicts and their lawyers. One of the lawyers, Zabil Qahramanov, said that he would write a complaint against A. Azimov. Any convicts’ attempts to intervene have been severely halted by Judge Elchin Hasmammadov. That also caused a lot of discontent among the audience in the court. Kamal Quliyev, the convicted, said that he had also been prevented from speaking during the trial, when he saw the policemen for the first time who claimed that he had “beaten” them.

But the judge was unrelenting and set a new hearing for 17 May

Older Posts »



Pastor Hamid Shabanov

06 May

There are a Baptist community and church in the village of Aliabad, north-west of Azerbaijan, south from the city of Zaqatala. Since 1994 the community have been trying to get a registration but in vain. The lack of registration has caused constant problems for Baptists over the years. The police regularly undertake the raids and detain worshippers of the Baptist community, including pastors Zaur Balayev and Hamid Shabanov. The latter was even sentenced to 2 years of suspended imprisonment on fabricated charges in 2009.

In December 2016, the police once again detained more than 30 adults and children for “illegal prayer” in the house of pastor H. Shabanov. Pastor H. Shabanov and another member of the church, Mehman Agamammadov, were fined each 1,500 manat (about 800 euros), which is higher than an average salary in the country for three working months. Pastor H. Shabanov managed to get a written decision only in January 2017, whilst M. Agamammadov, despite numerous attempts to obtain it at the court, has never get any.

Since that time H. Shabanov has been trying to receive cancellation of the court’s decision on the fine, applying to the different judicial instances.  Having received refusals everywhere, including the Supreme Court, in April 2019 he filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court.

However, on 06 May, the Constitutional Court sent a letter to Pastor Shabanov denying the re-examination of his request. “The court administration informed him that it had already considered the case. His second appeal was rejected and no hearing was required,” a Constitutional Court official said to a Norwegian  organization Forum 18.

Pastor H. Shabanov confirmed to Forum 18 that he had received a letter from the Constitutional Court in May and he has been consulting with other leaders of the Baptist Church about further actions regarding illegal police raids and fines against believers.

23 May

Baku Court of Appeal

According to Veten ugrunda agency, on 23 May, a hearing on the complaint of a group of 11 convicted individuals in the so-called “Ganja case” ended in the Baku Court of Appeal presided by the Judge Chingiz Mammadov.  On 22 February 2019, the Ganja court found them guilty of committing crimes under the Articles 220.1 (mass riots) and 315.2 (resistance or use of force against a state official with the threat to life or health) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced them to 7-10 years of imprisonment.

During the trial the lawyer of Orkhan Yagnaliyev, sentenced to 8,5 years of imprisonment, Zabil Qahramanly pointed out that the arrest of his client was completely illegal, “The court did not let us provide the evidence of Orkhan’s innocence, grossly violating the Articles 28, 46 of the Constitution and the Articles 13 and 21.2 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as the norms of international law (the Articles 6 (2), 5 (1) and 3 of the Convention of the European Human Rights, and the Convention against Torture), and did not consider the complaints concerning the torture of Orkhan Yagnaliyev who was detained and had administrative charges. After the administrative sanctions his second arrest is completely contradicting the law”.

During the hearing, many parents of the convicted expressed their protest against the lawyers’ silence, “Our children’s rights have been violated for 10 months. When will you finally start defending them? Why don’t they allow us, the parents, to speak?”

After that, the word was given to the convicted Maarif Hajiyev, who stated that he had been going to pay for his phone bill when he heard some shouting in the street. As he wanted to take a picture of what he saw on his phone, he was immediately captured by the police officers who dragged and threw him into the car, “I was held at the police department for two days. I have been beaten from morning till night, and I have not even been allowed to drink. They said we were radical believers, an organized group. Although I saw these guys there for the first time. I have never even opened the Koran, so how could I become a believer? I was tortured in order to confess that I recognized those whose photos were shown to me. But how can I lie pretending to know people I have never met?”

When the prosecutor Adalat Azimov said that his phone contained photos and videos of the famous theologian Tale Bagirzade and asked whether the convicted person would admit his testimony during the investigation, the latter replied: “I have heard the name of Tale for the first time in the police station. And I do not confirm my testimony pronounced in the course of torture, as I had been beaten and tortured severely in the Ganja prison in order to admit that I had hit a policeman. But how could I hit a policeman if they suddenly grabbed me from behind and dragged to the car driving to the station?”

Shahlar Rzayev, who was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, said that he had known about the upcoming action in Ganja and therefore came to the square. His goal was to protest against the policy of lawlessness towards the citizens on the part of the former mayor of the city Elmar Valiyev: “I was concerned about his arbitrariness, constant insults of citizens, including believers, bans on prayers and much more. So, I came to the square to protest.” In response to the remark of the prosecutor Adalat Azimov that he had taken part in an illegal rally and shouted religious slogans, the convicted replied, “And for this any human should not be subjected to torture and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. I was brutally beaten from morning till night. If I have done something wrong according to the law, so, the investigation and condemnation should be conducted according to the law! “

Then Ruslan Hasanov, who was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, took the floor: “The events took place in the street where I live. And I did what anyone in my shoes would have done; after hearing the noise and shouting, I went outside to watch. Perhaps my mother fell or someone was hit by a car and needed help. I ran out into the street just with that in mind. And the police immediately ran up to me and forcibly took me to the Nizami police station, where 15 officers attacked beating me with their feet and truncheons.  My face got swollen from the beatings. A doctor came in and said that I had nothing, that everything was all right. Although my face had been swollen and my gums had been bleeding.”

As Tural Bayramov, who was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, said in his speech, “On that day I was going to my grandfather’s house. On my way I encountered the police officers, and one of them stopped me and told the others that I also had to be detained since I had a beard. I was taken to the police department, where I has been beaten for 11 hours without any break. There, two policemen by the name of Asif and Elnur told me in the face that I had allegedly injured them in front of 58 witnesses, but none of these 58 testimonies had been shown to me.” The judge suspended the hearing and scheduled a new one for the 03 June.

30 May

Over the course of the session, the Judge Khagani Mammadov presided over the Supreme Court’s decision to ban the publication of the religious scholar Elshad Miri’s book. As the theologian’s lawyer Elmar Suleymanov pointed out to Forum 18, “we made it clear during the debate that the ban was completely illegal”. After which the Judge Kh. Mammadov asked the lawyer representing the interests of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations to comment on the position of this state body that prohibited the publication of the theologian’s book. But, according to Elmar Suleymanov, the lawyer of the authorities “could not reasonably refute our arguments.” Then Elmar Suleymanov took the floor again and pointed out that if the Supreme Court would not uphold the appeal of the theologian Elshad Miri, the latter would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Then the Judge Khagani Mammadov  called upon the State Committee and Miri to reach an “amicable settlement” and set a new meeting on 25 June.

Older Posts »



03 June

Togrul Verdiyev

On 03 June another trial on the case of the events in Ganja in July 2018 was held in the Baku Court of Appeal headed by the judge Chingiz Mammadov. According to the agency Veten ugrunda, that day there was a hearing of 4 out of 11 defendants. All of them stated their innocence and the brutal torture they had suffered at the Ganja police station.

In his speech, the defendant Togrul Verdiyev said that on 10 July, he was going along with his friends for prayers at the mosque. On their way to the mosque, they heard screaming and some noises. But when he suddenly recalled that he had forgotten his keys at work, he went back to work. Two days later, two policemen came up to him on Sabir Street and led him to the head, Adalat Sadigov, of the Nizami district police station in Ganja. He was asked questions there. Adalat Sadigov asked him if he had ever been to Iran. “Have you been to the city of Gum, have you prayed there?” To receive a positive answer, Adalat Sadigov said to other policemen, “Since he was in Iran, and prayed in Qom City, then he is the enemy of the people.”

After telling all that, T. Verdiyev asked the judge, “If I had been committing a crime, why do you think I am requesting you to watch a video footage from the square where the events had taken place?”

Then Verdiyev referred to the charges against him, “I was told that I had thrown stones at the police officers and pushed them using both of my hands. However, I am left-handed and work with one hand only.

Moreover, they wrote in the accusation that I had been praying for 5 years. Whereas, in fact, I have prayed just once. Finally, another accusation is that I belonged to a group. But, in reality I met all these people on the bench only after my arrest, here.” Then he pointed out that two policemen, Rukhi and Nijat, were witnesses at the police station and falsely slandered him.” I told them – fear God, you have children! One day, when all this happens to your children, you will regret it. And they answered me, “Brother, if we do not do this, then they will put others to witness against you”.

Then the word was given to the defendant Seymur Aliyev, who also categorically denied all the charges against him, claiming that they had been a lie, “It was as if I had thrown a stone at some policeman. Why is there no name of this policeman? Can’t they find that policeman on the video to identify him? Two days later, I was sitting in a teahouse owned by an investigator Khanlar. He called me and then, came to pick me up from the teahouse to the police station. But, it was written in the record that I had been arrested on 10 July.”

Another defendant, Tural Bayramov, intervened and said that he personally saw that Seymur Aliyev had been brought to the police station on 12 July.

In his speech, the defendant Orkhan Yagnaliyev indicated that he had come to attend the wake of his passed away grandmother in Ganja when he was arrested, “I was sentenced to one year and a half imprisonment for a car accident on 08 January 2018. On 08 July, I got news about my grandmother’s death, and I got permission to leave prison for two days in order to assist her funeral. I came by bus and headed to my uncle’s house. My parents live in Russia. Together with my uncle’s son, my cousin, we went to the place where there was a wake. On the way, my cousin told me that we should stop the pharmacy and buy medicine for his mother. We turned to the pharmacy but immediately saw that the blocked streets. When we reached the Nizami District Court, two policemen grabbed my cousin. I recognized one of them, Vusal. I told him that my cousin had a heart disease, and asked Vusal to let him go. At that moment, some unknown man in civilian clothes showed up, pointed at me and ordered to detain me.”

According to O. Yagnaliyev, when they were brought to the police station, there had been a lot of people there. The policemen started beating them in the corridor. «Vusal, a policeman, left us with another policeman, Vugar Qarayev, telling him that we were innocent. But then we were told that we would be given 20 days for resisting the police and would not be tortured much. On July 11, I was sentenced to 15-day-arrest, while my cousin was sentenced to 20 days. Then we were transferred to the Nizami police station. When we got inside, we saw the head of the department, Adalat Sadigov, and an investigator Orkhan Babayev from the General Prosecutor’s Office. They told us to give them 5 000 manats and then they let us go. I answered them that I had not been guilty and it would be proved anyway, so I would be released anyway. In response to my words, Adalat Sadigov said it is Azerbaijan, and there is no law here. He added that my name would be included in the list of the Ganja event participants. And then he laughed at me saying that he can even shoot me. And he concluded, “I’m not afraid of anyone.” Another investigator, Orhan Babayev, said, “I know what needs to be done to make you be smart.” After heard him saying that I was stripped naked, my arms and legs were tied up and attached to the heating system. I was beaten up severely that I got completely deaf in one ear and, now I can’t hear. My nose was broken and my head was hit so hard, so it was smashed. Then they pinched my thumb between the doors, tortured my legs so I couldn’t walk for some days. After all kinds of torture I was subjected, they threw me into the disciplinary cell of the Ganja prison. There, we have not be given any food or drink for 3 days”.

Further, Orkhan Yagnaliyev noted that both he and all those arrested on Ganja cases were robbed by the policemen. The officers had stolen money from their pockets, some valuables such as rings, golden chains taken off from their hands and much more. Some detainees’ phones had been taken and never returned back.

Then O. Yagnaliyev added that he was in a prison on 03 July. But the police protocol states that he was messaging with representatives of some groups by phone, “I was in prison on 03 July, and they didn’t give us to use our phones. It was only on 09 July when I returned home and used my old phone there. How could I correspond by phone from the police station? I was forced to confess that I had taken part in the action. I was subjected to such horrible tortures that I almost hanged myself in a cell.”

O. Yagnaliyev’s father got hysterical listening to his son talking. He could no longer hear what had been done to his son and left the courtroom going outside.

Vaqif Ashrafov, a Russian citizen, was born and lives in Moscow. His testimony “On 28 July, one police officer, Ruslan, called me and asked me to come to the police station. I went there. I was accompanied to Adalat Sadigov’s office. Sadigov asked me if I had been to the square. I replied that he had not been. I was held at the station until the 31st of July, and then arrested for 15 days on charges of speaking loudly on the phone while being outside. To do that, they activated my old phone I hadn’t used for three years. They were trying to prove that I had been negotiating with the protesters”.

Then V. Ashrafov told the court about the tortures he was subjected to, “I was tortured by an assistant prosecutor by the name of Nihad. He took me to a room where I saw many broken chair legs. He tied up my arms and legs and pushed me on the floor. He has beaten me with those broken chair legs. Moreover, he took off his shoes and started hitting my ears with a heel, so my ears got bloody and torn. And these wounds haven’t healed yet. The only thing I have managed to tell him that I had blood clots and heart problems. But Adalat Sadigov said, “Where he has more pain, that’s exactly where you should hit him the most.”After that, the judge announced the end of the session and scheduled the next one on 20 June.

04 June

Qalaqayin village

In February 2019, the police searched and confiscated 106 books and booklets, including the Bible and the New Testament, as well as CDs of Christian songs, in the house of Baptist couple Safgan and Gulnara Mammadovs, which is situated in Qalaqayin village, Sabirabad district in southern Azerbaijan. The police officers drew up a protocol on confiscation of the religious books and booklets, based on which the judge, Nuraddin Bagirov, from Sabirabad district court found Sabirabad and Gulnara Mammadovs guilty of violating the Articles 451 and 515.0.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Azerbaijan Republic, and fined the spouses for 1.500 Manat (800 Euro) each, i.e. for 3 000 Manat (1.600 Euro). This is a huge amount even for the citizens working in the capital. But for the residents of the province, it is unimaginable.

Disagreeing with the verdict, the Mammadovs appealed to the Shirvan Court of Appeal. However, on 04 June, the judge Rafiq Jafarov rejected Gulnara Mammadova’s appeal, and the judge Ismayil Ahmadov similarly rejected Safgan Mammadov’s one. “The trial lasted only 10 minutes and rendered an unfair decision,” said an employee of the Norwegian organization Forum 18.

“Safgan and Gulnara can’t lodge further appeals,” the head of the Baptist Union Pastor Ilya Zenchenko told Forum 18 from the capital Baku. “We are considering writing to President Ilham Aliyev about the case”.

12 June

The Supreme Court rejected Abulfaz Bunyadov’s appeal. He was convicted for participation in the Nardaran events.

A group of human rights activists, civil society activists and intellectuals asked the country’s leadership to help release Bunyadov due to his serious health condition; he suffered from limb paralysis, hepatitis C, intestinal infection. However, the call of the democratic public remained unfulfilled despite a threat to the convicted’s life.

The very same day, there are a preliminary hearing on the so-called “Ganja events” at the Baku Court of Appeal. It concerned a group of 8 people convicted on 02 March 2019. As reported by the convicts’ families to the agency Veten ugrunda, all prisoners decided to start a hunger strike on 14 June as a protest against the judge’s refusal to consider their complaints.

13 June

There were trials conducted by the judge Dadash Imanov in the building of the Sabunchi District Court. It concerned two groups of 8 people each in the so-called “Ganja case”. As it was reported by the Human rights activist Ogtay Gulaliyev to the agency Turan, two new lawyers, Shahla Gumbatova and Zibeyda Sadigova, joined a defence team of the accused that day.

“The participation of the new team of lawyers created right away tension between them and the judges. Thus, the Judge Dadash Imanov repeatedly interrupted the defendants and their lawyers, unreasonably warned them, when it came to the subject of torture, and all that caused discontent in the court room,” Gulaliyev said. In this connection, the lawyer Gumbatova and a number of other defenders asked to disqualify the Judge Imanov. The challenge or disqualification of the judge will be considered today.

One of the most important moments at the trial on 13 June was reading out the letter written by the General Prosecutor’s first deputy Rustam Usubov, in which he underlined the investigation results connected to the tortures of convicted people at the pre-trial proceedings. “Such an unfair prosecution announcement provoked protests among the convicts who had been subjected to moral and physical abuses, and whose bodies were still covered with injures caused by tortures,” O. Gulaliyev said. He thinks that the investigation has been superficial. He pointed out that video footage made in the period from the 10 to 11 July at the Ganja police department hasn’t been seen at all.

The Human rights activist supposed that a team of independent lawyers participation in the trial would complicate a task of enforcement officials to hide facts of torturing inmates. He also mentioned that there were representatives from the USA Embassy and European Union who assisted the trial on 13 June. They did not come to the previous hearings.

14 June

During the police raid conducted in the city of Agsu in October 2018, three believers Rauf Madjidov, Gambar Zeynalov and Vugar Mammadov were arrested for “illegal religious assembly conducting”. They were fined by the local district court and should pay from 1.000 to 2.000 manats, or from 530 to 1.060 Euro. Not having accepted the court decision, they appealed to the Shaki Appeal Court.

In November 2018, the Shaki Appeal Court rejected Madjidov’s and Mammadov’s appeals and left the the previous court decision unchangeable. As about Gambar Zeynalov’s complaint the judge Mirbahaddin Huseynov came to another conclusions and changed the local court verdict since “it did not correspond to the facts”. However, the plaintiff side filled a counter-complaint. And on 14 June, the judge of the Shaki Appeal Court M. Huseynov changed his decision one more time and confirmed the local court verdict in case of Gambar Zeynalov.

18 June

Elvin Nazarov

Vugar Khudiyev

The Baku Appeal Court headed by the judge of the Ganja Court of Serious Crimes, Salman Huseynov, held a scheduled hearing on the so-called “Ganja cases” involving the group of the convicted on 01 March 2019. The agency Veten ugrunda reported that complaints of the convicted, Elvin Nazarov, Elman Rustamov, Elvin Allahverdiyev, Neymat Heydarly, Renat Mammadov and Vugar Khudiyev had been considered.

At the trial, Vugar Khudiyev spoke about the terrible torture he had been subjected to at the Kyapaz police station in the city of Ganja, «I was beaten for a very long time at the police station in order to break my back but they could not do it. Then they tied my arms and legs and chained me to a chair. They kept asking me if I knew some Rashad. After getting my negative relies, they pushed my chair to the wall, turned it over on the floor, and kept beating me up. Later, in the pre-trial detention center in Kyurdakhani, my cellmates told a doctor that I had had a broken rib, and asked him to examine me. The doctor asked who I was? He was told that I had been a Ganja prisoner. Then the doctor said that they had been asked not to check the prisoners of “the Ganja case”.

At that moment, the judge Salman Huseynov interrupted Vugar Khudiyev by saying, “Don’t talk about repressions here, stop it! Tell me why you came to Ganja?” and thereby prevented the disclosure of torture facts in court.

Then V. Khudiyev began to talk of his arrival to Ganja along with two friends of Elvin Nazarov on 10 July, when he visited Imamzade Mosque: “Then we went to have a rest and drink tea in the Khan Garden of the city. At that moment, two policemen came up to us and demanded to follow them to the police department. We obeyed and followed them. On the way, a policeman by the name of Emin said that we would be given 15 days of administrative arrest, and then you would go home. But he did not explain why we would be sentenced to 15 days. But, at the police department, I was told that after 15 days of detention, I had to go to Mingachevir and not come to Ganja afterwards. I answered them that as a citizen of the country I could go anywhere I wanted.” V. Khudiyev added answering the question of Public Prosecutor Adalat Azimov, “I was arrested while sitting in Khan Garden drinking tea. But the police said that I had been detained during the action at the square.”

When Zibeyda Sadigova, a lawyer, asked “Did you ask about the detention reasons?” V. Khudiyev answered: “Were we allowed to talk and do anything? They treated us brutally. As we were brought to the police department, they immediately told us that we had been given 15 days of imprisonment. They just said that they had been instructed to send all those who had been brought to the police department for 15 days of detention.” The judge Salman Huseynov tried to object, “The decision on administrative arrest is made by the court, not by the police”, but V. Khudiyev immediately pointed out to the judge that there had been no trial and the decision was made by the policemen themselves, who told him about the 15-day sentence. Moreover, neither lawyers nor close family members were there. Neither his rights were explained to him.

At the end, B. Khudiyev pointed out that he was constantly beaten up at the Kyapaz Police Department. At the same time, it was said that they had been waiting for orders from “above” to shoot us all. Then an investigator came in and said that he would give me the Article 531 of the Criminal Code, as if I had taken part in mass riots. When they brought us to the Kyurdakhani pre-trial detention facility, all the detainees in the cells were told not to approach those who had been arrested in the connection to the Ganja case, otherwise they would have problems and would be convicted under the same article, as well as for treason”.

Following the statement of the state prosecutor Adalat Azimov that the 6 convicts had not been subjected to any kind of torture, the 6 detainees were outraged. The judge’s attempt to calm down the convicts had failed. Each of them started immediately talking about tortures they had been subjected to. Elvin Nazarov said that he had had no contact with his relatives for 7 months, and then turned to the state prosecutor A. Azimov saying, “Come to me and look at my wrists. There are still some traces of torture. My hands were handcuffed, I was thrown on the floor, and then a 150-kilogram man sat on my hands and the handcuffs crashed into my bones in the wrist. I was bleeding all over. And now you say there was no torture? And what happened to us then? ”

Then the judge stopped the hearing and announced the rescheduling to 24 June.

21 June
Shahin Verdiyev
(in centre) and other defendant of so-called
“Ganja case”

There was a scheduled hearing on the so-called “Ganja case” of a group of 8 people in the Sabunchi District Court under the presiding of the judge of the Ganja court on serious crimes Dadash Imanov. However, according to Seminara Verdiyeva, a correspondent of the Veten ugrunda agency, at the very beginning of the session her son Shahin Verdiyev’s condition suddenly deteriorated drastically, “The doctors were urgently summoned. After having examined Shahin, they came to conclusion that he urgently required medical attention. But, although we asked to substitute imprisonment for a house arrest for Verdiyev, we did not receive permission to do so. They could make only injections to relieve the pain in the Medical Department of the Penitentiary Service. I buy myself all the necessary drugs. My son was brutally subjected to torture during the investigation. His mouth and eyes were covered with scotch, his hands were handcuffed behind his back, his legs were tied up, and then he was tortured with electric shocks”.

She added more, “My son was tortured under the supervision of Orkhan Babayev, an investigator for particularly serious crimes at the General Prosecutor’s Office. The latter personally electrocuted him, so that my son passed out. They were even obliged to call an ambulance twice. After have been regaining his senses, they started to electrocute him again. That’s why my son is in this condition now, because no one seriously treated him”.

Shahin Verdiyev’s lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova filed a petition demanding to have her client sitting next to her and not in a glass cabin (“aquarium”), but the judge Dadash Imanov declined to grant the request. After that, Sh. Verdiyev, who was in the glass cabin, felt weak and lost his consciousness. Z. Sadigova again petitioned to postpone the process, “Nothing is more important than human life. My client’s state of health is very poor. Please stop and postpone the hearing to another day.” The prosecution’s representative objected, but the judge decided to grant the petition and postponed the trial to 27 June.

24 June

A regular hearing on the so-called “Ganja cases” of the group of individuals convicted on 01 March 2019, was held at the Baku Appeal Court chaired by the judge of the Ganja Court of Grave Crimes, Salman Huseynov. According to the Veten ugrunda agency, at the request of Nazim Musayev, the lawyer of the convicted Neymat Heydarly, the trial began with the video recorded at the square in Ganja, where the tragic events had occurred. Even though N. Heydarly was arrested in the early morning of July 10, long before the rally started, the Judge S. Huseynov said that he wanted the video to be demonstrated, as the defendant had been clearly seen at the square. However, neither the judge himself, nor the state prosecutor, nor anyone else found Neymat Heydarly captured on the video. Then the judge started showing photos of the rally participants, but there was no Neymat Heydarly amongst the participants. Neymat stated that he went to Ganja to buy clothes and that day he was dressed in a black shirt, “My clothes were provided for examination, and you could see what color of shirt I was wearing. The photos you are demonstrating all people are dressed in white shirts. And I could not be on the video, since I was arrested a few hours prior the rally”.

None of 6 defendants have been shown on the video.

The judge again postponed the hearing on 08 July.

25 June

On 25 June, Judge Khagani Mammadov of the Supreme Court in the capital Baku finally rejected Muslim theologian Elshad Miri’s suit against the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations. Miri had been seeking to overturn the State Committee’s ban on the publication and distribution in Azerbaijan of his book “Things Not Existing in Islam»”. As soon as I have the written Supreme Court decision, I will prepare the case to the European Court with my lawyer,” Miri told Forum 18. He said the Court had one month to issue the decision in writing.

28 June

The Baku Court of Appeal chaired by the Judge Alizamin Abdullayev from Ganja Serious Crimes Court, held a regular session on the so-called “Ganja cases” of a group of 8 defendants convicted on 02 March 2019 to various terms of imprisonment. According to the agency Veten ugrunda, the lawyer Polad Maharramov, who initially took the floor saying that the investigation had been conducted in a very biased manner and the accused had not been guilty.

Then the lawyer of the accused Sabir Azizov pointed out that the accusation of the investigators had been based on some sms on WhatsApp that asked Sabir urgently come to Ganja. But the first instance court did not check that fact and either find out if that message had ever been sent.

All the defendants who spoke after that did not plead themselves guilty. Ria Nuruzade stated that he along with his brother Gulmirza and friends Fikrat and Sabir had decided to go to the Lake Goygol to have a rest there. Going there they decided to eat and have tea but they did not know any good place on the road, so they came up to the policeman and asked him to point out such a place. Instead the policeman detained them and brought to the Ganja Police Department, saying that they would receive 15 days of administrative arrest, and then would be released home. However, the report stated that they had been detained by the police, and they had resisted, whereas in fact they just had approached the police officer themselves asking where they could eat and drink tea. After that, they were brutally beaten for 4 days, from morning till evening, and demanded to admit that Elman Quliyev had sent them to Ganja to take part in the action.

At that moment, the lawyer Polad Maharramov made a statement that on the instructions of Colonel Faiq Shabanov, Head of the Main Department of Ganja, about 500 people had been arrested in connection with the July 2018 events in Ganja, which provoked an angry reaction from the representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office Mr. Adalat Azimov.

Then, the accused, Gulmirza Nuruzade, made a statement, saying “I work as a car repair foreman. Following my father’s death I had been missing him and got depressed. My friends decided to help me and offered to have a rest and relax. We were going to the Lake Goygol. We made up our minds and ordered a taxi to go to the Lake. And only after the arrest we realized that the taxi driver had actually been a police officer. At that time, their parents, sitting in the hall, began to speak up that the pseudo-driver from the police actually had drawn up in advance a list of those who should have been arrested for participation in the action in Ganja. Then Nuruzade said that they had been forced to admit under the torture that Elman Quliyev had allegedly called them to take part in the action in Ganja, but he had refused to sign such a confession.

When the arrested brothers Sabir and Jabir Azizov started to speak, their mother who was in the hall got sick. Jabir Azizov said, «We were beaten so badly that we were constantly losing consciousness. They beat us from morning till night and kept demanding to admit that Elman Quliyev had called us to Ganja. But why should I slander Elman? I could not stand the beatings any more that I cut my fingers with a blade. I also began to cut myself all over my body wishing to kill myself. I didn’t want to live any longer. I can’t tell you anything else, since our mothers and sisters are here, in the hall, and I am ashamed, let them leave the hall and then I will tell you the whole truth about all kinds of torture we were subjected to. I cannot say what the police have said and done to us with their pants off. How could we stand it? ”

The process was interrupted and rescheduled for July 26

Older Posts »



03 July

The trial of 42-year-old Rovshan Rahimov, a resident of Baku, and 37-year-old Mehman Qarayev, a resident of Sumgayit city, accused in participation in hostilities as part of illegal armed groups in Syria, continued in the Baku Court for Serious Crimes chaired by the Judge Faiq Qaniyev.

The relatives of the defendants testified at the trial. A. Qarayev, Mehman Qarayev’s brother, said that he was not aware that Mehman had gone to Syria. He only knew that his brother had left for Turkey to earn money. In response, the Judge F. Qaniyev noticed that A. Qarayev said otherwise in his testimony during the preliminary investigation. However, the latter could not provide a reasonable explanation for the contradictions in his testimony during the investigation and at the present trial.

Then S. Rahimov spoke saying that he had been in a bad terms with his brother Rovshan Rahimov, especially after his brother had been changed a lot and begun to pray, “He was not like that before. But since he began to live by the rules of faith, our relationship has been troubled and cooled down. We stopped seeing each other”.

10 July

Abulfaz Bunyadov

There was a hearing of the case of Abulfaz Bunyadov, a believer sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in July 2018, at the Baku Nizami District Court under the chairmanship of Judge Rauf Ahmadov. Bunyadov had been paralyzed as a result of injures he had received during a police operation in the village of Nardaran on 26 November 2015. He was brought on stretchers to the court and back to the prison. Recently, his health condition had deteriorated dramatically and he was transferred to the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service.

Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, the lawyer of the convicted A. Bunyadov, applied for his release on the basis of the Article 76.2 of the Criminal Code (the liberation of a person suffering from a serious illness) of Azerbaijan Republic. Following this, a week ago, on the Internet the activists started collecting signatures under the petition addressed to the Azerbaijani leadership with a request to assist in the release of A. Bunyadov.  The state prosecutor did not object. The court, after a short meeting, decided to release A. Bunyadov in the courtroom, after which the latter was sent home.

19 July

According to Azadliq newspaper, the Baku Court of Appeal continued reviewing the case of 7 other prisoners convicted to various terms of imprisonment in the “Ganja case” on 15 March 2019. Initially, the presiding judge, Teyyub Mukhtarov, provided the information about the facts of torture of the accused that had been raised during the previous trial. The request has been sent to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan; however, their reply was that no one had ever been tortured in their department. Also, it was said that they had not received any allegations of torture. A similar answer was received from the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City saying that no one complained about torture, and no one had ever been subjected to.

A request was also sent to the Baku Pre-trial Detention Center Kyurdakhani, and they replied that all seven prisoners had been examined by doctors and no new signs of torture had been found on their bodies at pre-trial detention center. While the judge was reading these answers, the prisoners started shouting out that all that had not been true and that none of them had been through a medical examination in the pre-trial detention facility at all. Their relatives also started yelling. The prisoners also demanded the judge to invite for questioning those policemen who had testified against them, and the prisoners’ lawyers also supported their demands.

Elvin Aliyev, a prisoner, indicated that he had been arrested for resisting the police, however, in reality he had not been resisting. The false charges stated that he together with two other prisoners had prepared a plan of action in Ganja, whereas all three had met for first time after their arrest.

Alim Yusifov’s mother asked the judge to provide her with a certificate that her son had not been a political prisoner. She explained to the judge that her son’s wife was seriously ill and could not support and feed by herself their two young children. Therefore, she went to the Shamkir district social assistance Center where she was told that her husband had been a political prisoner and considering that fact they were not entitled to social assistance. Other prisoners’ relatives jumped up and started talking about similar problems in their families. The judge, gave up, stopped the trial and set a new one for 02 August.

23 July

On 05 July, during a joint raid of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Security Service and SCWRO there were found and confiscated 180 units of religious literature on suspicion of propaganda of “religious radicalism and extremism” at the seller Kyamran Huseynzade who sold them near the Mosque Qarachukhur of Surakhany district in Baku. Although nothing reminding extremism has been found but a police protocol had been drawn up and the case had been transferred to the Surakhany District Court since K. Huseynzade did not have a license to sell religious books.

On 23 July, Jeyhun Qadimov, a judge of the Surakhany District Court, found Huseynzade guilty under the Article 516.0.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Azerbaijan Republic and fined him 2,200 Manats (about 1,200 euros) as the assistant judge informed Forum 18. The assistant said that Huseynzade did not appeal the decision, and the same assistant refused to comment on the subject of punishment that was applied for offering religious literature and items for sale without the state permission.

Older Posts »



01 Аugust

The rally in the city of Ganja, 10 July 2018

The Baku Appeal Court chaired by the Judge Chingiz Mammadov held a regular trial on the case of July 2018 events in Ganja concerning a group of 11 defendants. According to the agency Veten ugrunda, at the trial the state prosecutor Jeyhun Aliyev said that the court fully proved the defendants’ guilt. But despite that, he advocated mitigation of the defendants’ sentences, and in this regard proposed to reclassify the charges from the Article 315.2 (use of violence against the police representative dangerous to health and life) to the Article 315.1 (use of violence against the police representative) and leave unchanged the charges under the Article 220.1 (organization or participation in riots) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. It should be noted that if the Article 315.2 stipulates punishment from 3 to 7 years of imprisonment, whereas the Article 315.1 stipulates up to 3 years of imprisonment.

Taking this into consideration, the prosecutor proposed to reduce the sentences for Maarif Hajiyev, Ruslan Hasanov, Nizami Akbarov, Togrul Verdiyev and Seymur Aliyev to 5.5 years of imprisonment, Shahlar Rzayev, Tural Bayramov, Kamal Maharramov, Araz Hasanov and Orhan Yagnaliyev to 5 years, Vaqif Ashrafov to 4.5 years of imprisonment.

The court of the first instance sentenced the defendants of that case from 7.5 to 9 years of imprisonment. In turn, their lawyers asked the court to acquit the defendants, arguing that their guilt had not been proved. The court hearing will be continued on August 15.


02 August


Elvin Aliyev

The Baku Court of Appeal under the chairmanship of the Judge Teyyub Mukhtarov held another trial on the case of the events in Ganja in July 2018, that time it concerned a group of 7 defendants. It should be noted that they were convicted on March 15, 2019, in particular: Yavar Ismayilzade to 9 years of imprisonment, Zabil Mammadov to 8.5 years, Isa Maharramzade to 8 years, Alim Yusifov to 7.5 years, Gambar Qarazade to 7.5 years, Elvin Aliyev and Aydyn Rustamov to 6 years imprisonment. According to the agency Veten ugrunda, the State Prosecutor, Jeyhun Aliyev, took the floor and said that the court had fully proved the guilt of the defendants. At the same time, the State Prosecutor asked the court to reduce the sentences by 2-4 years, and to convict Elvin Aliyev just to 1 year of imprisonment. It means that Elvin Aliyev may be released already at the next hearing on 8 August.


05 August


The trial of 42-year-old resident of Baku Rovshan Rahimov and 37-year-old resident of Sumgayit Mehman Qarayev both accused of participation in hostilities in Syria as members of illegal armed group continued in  the Baku Court on Serious Crimes chaired by the Judge Faiq Qaniyev.

Right from the beginning, the defendant Rovshan Rahimov made a statement that he declined his lawyer’s services, saying that there was no any useful assistance provided by his lawyer in his case. The judge told him that it was indeed his right, however he concluded that the trial could not be proceeded without the presence of a lawyer. The judge F. Qaniyev also added that due to the seriousness of the crime, the defendant should have a lawyer, so the court informed the Bar Association and the defendant that a state lawyer would be appointed at the state’s expense.

But Rovshan Rahimov reiterated that he had no need of a lawyer, “We are only being brought and taken. Anyway, the court will make a verdict not in our favour, so I will not attend the court next time. Do whatever you have to do and condemn us”.

The judge confirmed that he would suspend the trial until a newly appointed lawyer and urged the defendant to stay calm, “ Not much left to be done, the trial is almost over. Today we will hear the Public Prosecutor, and then the lawyers will give a speech.”


08 August


According to the agency Turan, at the next trial in the Baku Appeal Court the state prosecutor Jeyhun Aliyev proposed to mitigate the sentence of another group of 8 people convicted on the “Ganja case” in July 2018. In particular, Jeyhun Aliyev suggested to reclassify the sentences concerning the seven accused people on the Article 220.1 (participation in riots) to the Article 29, 220.1 (attempt in riots participation) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. However, the state prosecutor proposed to leave the Article concerning accusation of the Sumgayit State University professor, Elman Huseynov, unchanged. Though, the prosecutor asked to reduce the term of imprisonment from 8 to 7 years.

As about the others, the prosecutor proposed to reduce the term by 6 months for those who had been convicted for the terms of 6 years, namely: Sabuhi Rajabov, Riyad Nuruzade, Sabir Azizov, and Fikrat Mirzaliyev. And for the previously convicted to 5-year-term, Jabir Azizov and Gulmirza Nuruzade, the term was reduced to 4.5 years.

However, their lawyers expressed their objections. According to the lawyers, their defendants did not commit any crime at all. They asked acquittal for all previously convicted.

Sabir Azizov’s lawyer asked to take into consideration his defendant’s  hard family conditions saying that“Sabir Azizov is called a member of radical religious group. Though during his detention he was under the alcoholic influence. His father is a first group handicapped, his mother is a cleaning lady who earns only 180 manat (approx. 106 USD). Only two sons earned some money, and both of them had been arrested. In a sake of humanity, release at least one son who could support the family”, the lawyer asked.

The defence insisted that the Head of the State was misinformed about the Ganja events. The convicted on that case people were subjected to tortures while they were demanded to confess in organizing riots. The trial will be continued on 23 August when the accused ones have their last words.


09 August


The four accused on the “Ganja case”, Qadir Huseynov, Kamal Mammadtagiyev, Mireshgin Seyidov and Rauf Qurbanzade were released in the courtroom after the Baku Appeal Court had mitigated their sentences.

They had been convicted on 22 February 2019, along with 7 other accused in the same case people for the term from 7 to 10  years imprisonment. They were charged according to the Article 220.1 (participation in riots), 315.2 (use of violence against the police representative dangerous to health and life), 228.1 (illegal possession of arms) and the Article 234 (illegal trade of drugs) of Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. The court of the first instance condemned Qadir Huseynov, Kamal Mammadtagiyev, Mireshgin Seyidov and Rauf Qurbanzade to 7 years imprisonment.

Other defendants, Vugar Allahverdiyev, Raul Suleymanov and Ulvi Hasanov were sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment each, Kamal Quliyev and Ali Rzayev to 8.5 years, Khayal Qafarov and Samir Ibrahimov to 10 years of imprisonment.

And now, at the trial on August 9, the State Prosecutor Jeyhun Aliyev asked to shorten the terms of punishment of the first four of the accused to 2 years of imprisonment, and to the others to reduce the term from 5.5 to 7 years of imprisonment.

As a result, the Ganja Appeal Court, which held the trial at the Baku Appeal Court building, had shorten the sentences to 1 year of imprisonment for Qadir Huseynov, Kamal Mammadtagiyev, Mireshgin Seyidov and Rauf Qurbanzade. At the same time, the term of punishment was counted as one year, which they had already spent in custody during the preliminary and judicial investigation. All four were released in the courtroom,

For the others, the sentence was shortened from 4.5 to 6 years of imprisonment.


15 August

According to the Radio Azadliq, in the morning of 15 August at the building of Sabunchi District Court, there was held a hearing on the case of a group of 8 defendants on the events in Ganja in July 2018, under the chairmanship of the Judge of the Ganja Court for Serious Crimes Khagani Samadov, Despite the fact that there were 8 defendants in the documents, only 7 of them appeared on the trial bench, including Oqtay Huseynzade, Eshgin Quliyev, Urfan Mammadov, the Bayramovs father and son, Huseyn and Rauf, Elshan Mammadov and Abbas Abbasov. And the eighth defendant, Rashad Boyukkishiyev, was killed by the police during his detention under unclear circumstances on 13 July 2018.

A conflict had arisen in the process from the very beginning: the State Prosecutor, Fuad Musayev, had filed a motion to end the debate at the trial. The judge Kh. Samadov approved it, which provoked a harsh protest on the side of the lawyers. They stated that there were still many unresolved and unexplained issues, and they were going to raise motions to that effect. The State Prosecutor’s attempts to suppress the lawyers’ arguments provoked strong criticism from the latter. They demanded a second examination, as well as summoning for questioning the expert who had prepared the first expertise, and the doctors who had treated the defendants in the pre-trial detention facility as well as many others. The point was that all the defendants spoke about the torture they had been subjected to. In his report, the expert indicated that there were indeed numerous traces of wounds on the accused bodies, but they occurred at least a year and a half ago, i.e. before their arrests.

At the same time, there was a report of the doctors from the pre-trial detention facility, which stated that all defendants had undergone a medical examination and no wounds or signs of torture had been found on their bodies. In this regard, the lawyers pointed out that even if to assume that the accused received wounds before their arrest, then why the doctors of the pre-trial detention center had not noticed any. And the expert, who gave his assessment much later than the doctors did, observed the traces of torture and wounds. And that contradiction should be investigated, the lawyers said.

However, the judge rejected to consider any of the motions raised by the lawyers. The judge’s refusal to consider the lawyers’ objections provoked strong lawyer’ outrage, as well as the defendants’ and their relatives’ disagreements in the courtroom. During the adjournment of the session it became known that the lawyers had made a written statement about the judge’s harsh conduct, who always defiantly supported the State Prosecutor’s position and put pressure on the lawyers. Having learnt about it, the judge, in his turn, announced that he had called the Bar Association and complained about the lawyers’ behaviour at the trial.

Following this, the State Prosecutor, Fuad Musayev, took the floor and announced that the charges had been fully proven during the trial. He further indicated that two of the defendants, the father Huseyn Bayramov should be sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment,  and  his son,  Rauf, to 4 years of imprisonment.

Then F. Musayev suggested condemning Oqtay Huseynzade to life imprisonment, Urfan Mammadov to 20 years in prison, and Eshgin Quliyev, Abbas Abbasov and Elshan Mammadov from 10 to 19 years of imprisonment.

This State Prosecutor’s speech once again sparked a conflict in the courtroom. The accused and their relatives were screaming and blaming the authorities. One of the defendants’ family member got sick and the ambulance had to be called in.


The relatives of the accused were brought out from the Baku Appeal Court building.

According to the agency Turan, in the second half of 15 August, in the Baku Appeal Court, there was a confrontation between the law enforcement officials and the defendants’ relatives during the verdict announcement, which concerned the case of the next group of defendants on the events in Ganja in July 2018.

Despite the fact that the court reclassified the charges against Maarif Hajiyev, Ruslan Hasanov, Nizami Akbarov, Togrul Verdiyev, Seymur Aliyev, Shahlar Rzayev, Tural Bayramov, Kamal Maharramov, Araz Hasanov and Orhan Yagnaliyev from the Article 315.2 (use of violence against the police officer dangerous to health) to the Article 315.1  (use of violence against the police representative) of the Criminal Code and reduced the sentences to 4-4.5 years of imprisonment (the court of first instance sentenced them to 7-9 years of imprisonment), this verdict caused indignation of the defendants and their relatives who demanded the acquittal.

As a result, there was a spontaneous burst of emotion on the premises of the Court of Appeal. The relatives of the convicts, who had been silent for a long time, finally spoke out everything they had thought of. They did not hesitate to express themselves accusing the judge and the authorities, and seemed not to be afraid of the consequences. Moreover, according to some witnesses, there was a real riot in the courtroom: broken windows and seats, torn blinds and so on.

The convicts did not remain silent either, they nearly broke the glass cage threatening to commit suicide

For the first time in the history of court hearings in Azerbaijan, the Penitentiary Service staff used tear gas to calm down the detainees as well as their relatives. Then the protesters were forced out of the courtroom. The relatives of the convicts continued protesting in the court yard and then in the adjacent streets. They tried to block the traffic and cursed the authorities.

Additional police forces were brought in to calm the protesters. The relatives were pushed out of the courthouse. No one was detained.

16 August

Baku Court of Appeal

On 16 August, the Baku Court of Appeal continued the trial of another group of people convicted on 15 March 2019, on the “Ganja case”, who were sentenced from 6 to 9 years in prison on charges of organizing riots and violence against the authorities. The authorities took into account the disturbances in the same courtroom that took place the day before, when the convicts’ relatives smashed the courtroom and kept protesting in the street. Therefore, in the morning of 16 August, the court building was heavily controlled by the police. There were the police officers inside and outside the building. The entrance to the courtroom was carefully monitored, and majority of journalists were not allowed into the courtroom. Most of the prisoners refused to say their last word, protesting against the trial and the charges. The judge postponed the hearing for 22 August.

23 August

The Agency Turan reported that the Baku Court of Appeal has completed the trial on the case of another group of people convicted in the «Ganja case”. In March 2019, Yavar Ismayilzade, Zabil Mammadov, Qanbar Qarazade, Elvin Aliyev, Isa Maharramzade, Aydyn Rustamov and Alim Yusifov were sentenced from 6.5 to 9 years of imprisonment on charges of organizing riots and violence against the authorities.

The court of appeal reduced the sentences of those convicted. Elvin Aliyev’s sentence was reduced to his already served imprisonment term, and he was released in the courtroom. As for the rest, the court reduced their sentences to two years of imprisonment.

26 August

The Baku Court of Appeal issued a judgment on the case of another group of defendants in the “Ganja case”. The court, having reclassified the charges from the Article 220.1 (organization or participation in riots) to 29.220.1 (attempt to organize riots) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic, mitigated the accused’s punishments. Two convicted men, Riyad Nuruzade and Jabir Novruzov, received a sentence that was reduced from 5 years to 1.5 years of imprisonment, of which 1 year had already been served.

For their brothers Gulmirza Nuruzade and Sabir Azizov, as well as Fikrat Mirzaliyev, Eyruz Hajiyev and Sabuhi Rajabov, the terms of imprisonment were reduced from 6 to 2.5 years.

Accusations against Elman Quliyev, a professor from Sumgayit State University, have remained the same. But the Court of Appeal decreased his term of imprisonment from 8 to 5 years.

At the same time all the accused declared their innocence in the last word and asked to be acquitted. The announcement of the court verdict was made without journalists’ presence in the courtroom.

30 August

Neymat Heydarly

According to the agency Turan, the Baku Court of Appeal has completed another trial on “Ganja cases”. A series of changes in the sentence continued in August. Neymat Heydarly, another convict on the July 2918 events in Ganja was released in the courtroom on 30 August. Convicted Elman Rustamov, Elvin Allahverdiyev, Elvin Nazarov, Vugar Khudiyev and Renat Mammadov, received the reduced sentences. In particular, the sentences were reduced to 4 years for E. Allahverdiyev, to 3 years for V. Khudiyev, and to 2.5 years for E. Nazarov and R. Mammadov. The charges against Elman Rustamov under the Article 220.1 were left unchanged, but the Article 315.2 was reclassified to the first paragraph of the same Article (use of violence against the police representative) of the Criminal Code, and as a result, the sentence was reduced from 8 to 5 years of imprisonment. As for N. Heydarly, his sentence was reduced to 1 year of imprisonment. But due to the fact that he had already served his sentence, he was released in the courtroom. Immediately after his release N. Heydarly told the journalists that neither he nor other people convicted at the same time together with him were innocent. He wished to all innocent convicts a prompt liberation.


Older Posts »



05 September

The “Ganja case” trial


There was a hearing conducted under chairmanship of the Judge of Ganja court on Grave crimes, Dadash Imanov, on so-called “Ganja case” of a group of 8 people. The trial took place at Sabunchi district court. The defendants were accused of organizing or participating in riots and using violence against the police officers that threatened their health and lives.

The State Prosecutor announced in his final speech proposing to sentence the following offenders to the imprisonment terms: Bakram Aliyev to 16 years, Habib Qurbanov to 15 years, Mirza Huseynov to 8 years, Asif Javadov to 7 years, Elmir Huseynzade is 7 years, Shahin Verdiyev is 6 years, Vugar Yusifov is 6 years and a minor Emil Mammadov (he is under 16 y.o.)  to 5 years in a correctional institution. Aliyev and Qurbanov were sentenced to a strict regime colony.

The public prosecutor’s verdict outraged the relatives of the accused. The defendants’ lawyers were to take the floor but asked for some time to get prepared.

However, the Judge D. Imanov granted them only a day and set another trial on 6 September.

06 September

The trial against a group of 8 defendants in the “Ganja case” has been continued. The day before, a public prosecutor addressed to the court, demanding severe sentences against the defendants, including a juvenile Emil Mammadov. According to the Radio Azadliq the accusation provoked a furious reaction from the defendants’ family members, and on 6 September the defendants declared that they were going on hunger strike in order to protest against such a verdict.

It was followed by three of the eight lawyers’ speeches, who pointed out the innocence of the accused asking the court to acquit their defendants.

The same day, on 6 September, the Baku Court on Serious Crimes started the trial against three defendants: Sahil Ibrahimov, 29 y.o., Namiq Mammadov, 27 y.o., and Ilqar Agayev, 28 y.o., as was announced on the Radio Azadliq. They were accused of collecting money in Azerbaijan and sending those funds to Syria. According to the accusation, it was a sum of half a million Manats (almost $300,000 USD).

According to the investigation, one of the accused’s brother, Samir Ibrahimov, arrived through Georgia and Turkey to Syria in 2016 to take part in hostilities on the side of the terrorist organization ISIS. The investigation assumed that Samir Ibrahimov, while in Syria, had been in active contact with his brother and other radical Salafis (Wahhabis) believers, and asked them to establish connections with Salafis believers in Sweden, Russia, Norway, Finland, Germany and several other countries. The main purpose of those connections was to raise money in order to send the funds to the Azerbaijanis who fought in Syria.

The investigation showed that first the money had been sent from some foreign countries banks to Baku, then to Turkey, and from there to Syria. It was noted that Sahil Ibrahimov repeatedly transferred about 210,000 AZN (about 124,000 USD) at the period from September 2017 to February 2018, while Ilqar Agayev sent an amount of 135,000 USD. And two of them transferred together an amount of 135,000 USD at the period from March to April 2018.

Namiq Mammadov, who was also accused, joined the money transferring process later, said in an indictment document. In May-June 2018, he received in his name up to 40,000 AZN in total from Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Spain. In his turn, he personally handed over those funds to Ilqar Agayev. Agayev has also added money to the received funds and then, Sahil Ibrahimov transported 50,000 USD to Turkey in May 2018, and another 75,000 USD in June.

Charges have been brought against the three defendants under the Article 214-1 (financing of terrorism) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. The imprisonment term could be from 10 to 14 years. And Ilqar Agayev was also accused under the Article 228.4 (illegal acquisition, sale or carrying of gas weapon including cold throwing weapon) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

After the prosecutor had delivered the indictment, Namiq Mammadov and Sahil Ibrahimov took the floor, rejecting all charges against them but their attempts to say something else were severely interrupted by the judge.

The opinion of the third defendant Ilqar Agayev was not disclosed. During the trial he was playing with a toy ball and told the judge “let me go, I want to go and meet my friends, they came from far away and have been waiting for me”. His lawyer raised a petition for Ilqar Agayev asking him to undergo a psychiatric examination and insisting that his client was unable to attend the trial “it’s impossible to find out whatever while he is in such state in the courtroom”.

The judge said he would consider the petition and make a decision.

15 September

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, the trial against Sahil Ibrahimov, Ilqar Agayev and Namiq Mammadov continued in the Baku Court of Serious Crimes on 15 September.  They were accused in raising money in Azerbaijan in order to transfer the funds to militants in Syria. Samir Ibrahimov, a brother of accused Sahil Ibrahimov, was among fighters in Syria. According to the investigation, it was transferred over 500,000 AZN or about 295,000 USD from the period from 2017 to 2018.

However, the defendants did not plead guilty at the trial. Sahil Ibrahimov said he hadn’t been involved in the financing of terrorism. He insisted that he along with his brother and his wife left for Turkey in the summer of 2016. Some time later, his sister-in-law, Habiba, unexpectedly fled with a group of women-believers to Syria without informing her husband. Whereas the brothers returned to Azerbaijan right  after her departure. In four months, Habiba sent her mother a photo that captured her along with three girls in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad which she asked the mother not to worry about her life.

Further, according to the defendant, his brother, known among the believers by the nickname “Abu Ibrahim” and who lived in a rented apartment in Qarachukhur settlement on the outskirts of Baku, left his two young children with his brother’s family, and also went to Syria in April 2017. He called his brother from Syria informing him that he had joined the ISIS fighters. “Before his departure, Samir had been selling computers, telephones, clothes and perfume in the village of Qarachukhur, and he had left a list of people who borrowed goods, therefore I was obliged to collect the borrowers’ money  to pay debts back to his family. The money found in my possession was debts to my brother, as well as friends-believers’ donation. My brother asked me to spend that money on his children and family. And before my arrest, I was contacted by his debtors and believers I had known,” Sahil Ibrahimov said in court.

Then Ilqar Agayev, nicknamed “Abu Qaaqa”, a dweller of Agdam-town, was testifying that he had begun to pray since 2012, and in 2015, he met Samir Ibrahimov, nicknamed “Abu Ibrahim” and they became friends. A year later, he learned that “Abu Ibrahim” had gone to Syria, “Samir kept in touch with me through a “Telegram” messenger writing that he had gone to Syria to help his brothers of Islamic faith to fight along with them there. That’s why he is part of the ISIS,” the defendant said.

Then, I. Agayev indicated that in August 2017, “Abu Ibrahim”  wrote him asking to help brother and sisters who joined ISIS. It was said that it should be right to find those people’s relative in Azerbaijan and also acquaintances-believers living abroad who would send money to Syria. “He asked us, me and Sahil, to hand over collected money to some man by the name Maxim. And in his turn, that Maxim would transfer through some man, by the name Djuneyt, who lived in Istanbul to Syria. I agreed to do it. And I met with those who called on Samir’s behalf, and then transferred money to Maxim. Then Maxim met Djuneyt who, in his turn, passed the money to Samir. Only Samir knew how that money was going to be spent”, I. Agayev concluded.

Namiq Mammadov, the second defendant, did not plead guilty either. According to his words, he got acquainted with “Abu Qaaqa” during the prayers in so called “Lezgi” mosque in Baku. In May 2018, they met again by accident in cafe and I. Agayev proposed to Namiq Mammadov to receive on his account transfers sent from different countries as an assistance to poor believers in Azerbaijan. “I considered a help for people of my faith was my duty” , Mammadov said at the trial.

As it was investigated at the trial, Rubaba Ibrahimova, the mother of Samir Ibrahimov who was fighting in Syria, carried the money from Azerbaijan to Turkey. The woman testified “Samir asked me to pass 20,000 USD to Djuneyt who lived in Istanbul, in Turkey. My son said that if the money had not been passed to Turkey, he would have been executed. So, I took that amount and went there”.

Then, Ildiz Karimov testified as a witness at the trial, telling how his grandson Emin went to fight in Syria, “When Emin returned home after completing his military service, I immediately noticed that he had become a religious man. Talking to my grandson over the phone, I told him that I was preparing to go on a pilgrimage to the city of Mashhad in Iran. He replied to me that if I go there, I will become a kafir, i.e. a heathen. In a little while,  I learned that Emin had gone to Syria. In 2015, he died there. His wife and two children stayed in the city of Cancer, in Syria. In May last year, my daughter-in-law called me asking to pass the money to help her and my grandchildren.” After that, Karimov received a phone call from a man who identified himself as “Abu Ibrahim” and asked to pass the money for Emin’s wife through a woman who would wait for him near the metro station “May 28”. “And I gave Rubaba Ibrahimova 1,100 USD,” – Karimov concluded his testimony.

Then Sama Alisoy testified as a witness. She said she had grown up in a religious family and. prayed since she was 12 years old. Her father Intiqam Alisoy went to Syria in 2012 to join ISIS where after a while he became the leader of the “Azeri Jamaat” unit. He was killed at air-strike in 2017. Under her husband’s pressure, Rashid Bargubayov, who was a Tatar, and at her father’s request she moved to Syria in Aleppo in 2015. There, her husband joined the militants.  In 2017, she learned of her father’s death. Her husband wanted to leave Syria but was captured by “Jabhat al-Nusra” and executed in December 2017. In 2018, she was released by Turkish soldiers and officially handed over to the Azerbaijani authorities. “My financial situation was very difficult. I did not have any news from Rashid. I searched my husband’s phone and found the name Vahid whom I wrote explaining him who I was, and saying that my father had been killed. I told him that I had been alone with two young children and needed help. Vahid promised to help.  I received an average of 300 USD every three months from a man who called himself “Abu Ibrahim” starting in summer 2017 up to June 2018,” – Alice said at the trial.

19 September

Sabunchi District Court of Baku

According to the agency Turan and the website Caucasian Knot, the trial on the case of another group of convicts in the case of the July 2018 riots in Ganja was completed on 19 September. The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes was investigating the case in the building of Sabunchi District Court of Baku. As Arzu Abdulla, a member of the Public Committee for Protection of the Defendants’ Rights in the “Ganja case”, has stated that neither journalists nor public representatives were allowed in the courtroom when the verdict was read out. The same scenario had happened at the previous sessions. Only the defendants’ family members were allowed to enter the courtroom. The relatives and the defendants’ lawyers informed the journalists of the harsh sentence for the following people: Eshgin Quliyev was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, Ogtay Huseynzade and Urfan Mammadov to 18 years of imprisonment, Rauf Bayramov to 9 years, Abbas Abbasov and Elshan Mammadov to 7 years and Huseyn Bayramov to 2 years of imprisonment.

Arzu Abdulla said to the journalists “Rauf Bayramov and Huseyn Bayramov are father and son. Two people from the same family were convicted at once. And Huseyn was given two years ostensibly for what he had known but did not disclose the forthcoming crime. The convicts’ parents got very angry at the unfairness of the sentences.  All women cried out curses at the authorities after the trial. They were convinced of their children’s innocence.” According to her words, the parents and lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

After the trial, a human rights defender Oqtay Gulaliyev, the coordinator of the Committee against Repression and Torture, stated that the defendants had been unfoundedly convicted. «It is obvious that the court did not proceed to a fair, comprehensive hearing. All defendants’ complaints concerning the torture during the preliminary investigation had not been investigated. That group was sentenced to the longest terms. Apparently, it was simply decided to blame those people for the police officers’ deaths. No doubt, that group would also be recognized as political prisoners, since no reliable evidence had been submitted for the defendants’ guilt. From now on, people’s anger is aimed against the authorities,” Gulaliyev said.

He also noted that the convicts’ parents said that they had no confidence in the authorities, as their appeals and complaints to various instances had been fruitless. “The announcement of the verdict was postponed several times. The parents had to come from Ganja to Baku for several times. Many of them had no place to stay. Some of them just spent the night in the parks. Of course, we will support these people’s efforts in the appeal instance as well. The international organizations have already been informed about the violation in these cases,” Gulaliyev said.

23 September

According to the newspaper Azadliq, there was a hearing on the so-called “Ganja case” of a group of 8 people in the Sabunchi District Court. The trial was chaired by the Judge of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes Dadash Imanov. The accused Shahin Verdiyev and Elmir Huseynzade made their final words.

Shahin Verdiyev once again confirmed in his speech that he had been innocent. He testified that he had been subjected to brutal torture. He underlined that he had indeed been on the square in Ganja at the time of the protest on 10 July, but he had not committed any illegal actions. Moreover, he left the square some time before the law enforcement officers arrived. He reminded once again that he had been arrested 9 days later after the rally, at the time of his dead father’s memorial service. And further he told about tortures he had been subjected to, “For two days I was brutally tortured in various ways at the Nizami district police department of Ganja city. They electrocuted me, put down trying to drown me in the water, beat me for hours with batons and chair leg as well as their feet. They demanded my confession. When I refused to sign up their papers, an investigator Orhan Babayev repeatedly kicked my head against the table. I couldn’t stand it any more and was forced to sign.  I also told about all this in detail at the trial, but the judge did not pay any attention to my words. I was prevented from meeting and talking to my relatives by phone for months. And the state attorney appointed to help me, in reality was helping the investigation… not me.”

Shahin Verdiyev once again emphasized that the prosecution had not provided any evidence of his guilt in the course of the trial. A video recording of the incident was shown during the trial but it was clearly seen that he had not committed anything illegal. On that ground, Sh. Verdiyev categorically denied his guilt. “It was not initially announced that the rally would be illegal and no one should come to the square that day. If it had been done, then not only me, but many of us would not have gone there,” Verdiyev concluded his speech.

In his final word, the 23-year-old Elmir Huseynzade asked for a full acquittal. He claimed that all the charges against him had been libel. He also described the reason why he had gone to the square on 10 July 2018, “I was simply curious to see what was going on there, that’s why I went to the square that day. But I paid a high price for my curiosity. I was suddenly turned into one of those who provoked all this at the square. I still can’t understand why I was arrested and what I’m accused of…”

He also spoke about the brutal torture he had endured during the investigation, and all in order to sign up the testimony needed to support the investigation, “When I refused to sign something, the investigator again subjected me to brutal beatings and torture. And I was asked not to tell anyone about the torture I had experienced. And therefore I was also forbidden to meet or talk on the phone with my parents. At the same time, the investigation team was completely indifferent whether I had been guilty or not. The charges brought against me have been based on fictitious experts’ conclusions and false witness’ statements.”

The defendant went on saying that he was convinced in the course of the trial that the judges did not have any intention to objectively examine the case either, “The judges turned a blind eye to the issue of torture I had raised. The facts in my favour, brought by my lawyer Shahla Humbatova, caused the judge’s annoyance. And the judge repeatedly made comments to her, threatening to deprive my lawyer of her job and generally used words, unworthy of a judge”.

30 September

The released “Ganja case” defendants, 30 September 2019

According to the agency Turan and the website Caucasian Knot, the trial on the case of another group of the convicts on the case of the July 2018 riots in Ganja was completed on 30 September. The case was examined by the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes in the building of the Baku Sabunchi District Court. As Arzu Abdulla, a member of the Public Committee for Protection of the Defendants’ Rights on the “”Ganja Case””, has stated no journalists or public representatives were allowed to be heard the verdict at the courtroom as it happened at the previous hearings. Only the defendants’ family members were permitted to enter the courtroom. The public defender was informed by the convicts’ lawyers and parents.

The four defendants received real prison terms, while the other four received conditional convictions. The court sentenced the following people: Bahram Aliyev to 15 years of imprisonment, Habib Qurbanov to 8 years, Mirza Huseynov and Asif Javadov to 5 years of imprisonment each.

At the same time, the court sentenced Vugar Huseynov and Emil Mammadov to 1 year, 2 months and 2 days of imprisonment. Since they had already served that sentence, the court released them in the courtroom. “The court considered Emil Mammadov age, he was 15 years old at the time of his arrest. As about Vugar Huseynov, he suffered a heart attack during his detention, and the court took into account his health condition. Shahin Verdiyev and Elmir Huseynzade were sentenced to two and three years of imprisonment respectively, and they were also released in the courtroom. Of course, it is good that four people have been released. But, we are disappointed that the other defendants have received severe long-term prison sentences,” Arzu Abdulla said. The convicts are planning to appeal the sentence, she said.

Sevinj Huseynzade, the mother of the released Elmir Huseynzade, said that despite her son’s release, she did not agree with the verdict. “My son did not commit any crime. We will file an appeal seeing acquittal,” she told the correspondents.

The released E. Huseynzade also expressed disagreement with the verdict. “We should have been acquitted, we are not guilty at all. What have we done? Should people be arrested, tortured for watching some events?” he told the reporters.

Shahin Verdiyev said he seriously compromised his health during his detention. “At one point, I even lost my ability to independently move, I had a heart attack,” Verdiyev said and added that he would file an appeal.

Oqtay Gulaliyev, the Head of the Committee against Repression and Torture, declared, “Of course, it’s very good that four defendants have been released, one of whom is only 16 years old now. But four people got harsh sentences. Their names will be added to the list of political prisoners. We were waiting for the trial to be completed. The monitoring of the court investigation and information provided by their parents and lawyers give reasonable grounds to believe that these people have been prosecuted on trumped-up charges” in order to justify the Ganja events as the actions of religious radicals,” Gulaliyev said.


Older Posts »



7 October

The Baku Court of Appeal, presided over by the Judge Aflatun Gasymov, started the trial on the complaint of Rovshan Rahimov, who had taken part in the fighting as part of the illegal armed groups in Syria. It was the first hearing to consider the complainant’s profile and other procedural issues. It should be noted that Rahimov, along with Mehman Qarayev, was convicted by the Baku Court of Serious Crimes to nine years imprisonment. According to the indictment, both were convicted in 2013, went then to Syria where they fought being members of the illegal armed groups, and then returned to Azerbaijan. The next meeting on the complaint is scheduled for 21 October.

21 October

The Baku Court of Appeal, under the chairmanship of the Judge Aflatun Gasymov, has completed the trial on the Rovshan Rahimov’s complaint. Along with another radical believer, Mehman Qarayev, he participated in fighting in Syria as part of the illegal armed groups. Both were sentenced to 9 years imprisonment. Rovshan Rahimov was distressed by the judge’s actions and the process in whole, therefore he appealed. But during the proceedings, all of the arguments made by the plaintiff’s lawyer were found to be groundless, and on this basis the court denied Rovshan Rahimov’s appeal.


Older Posts »