Eight more citizens were convicted on so-called “Ganja case”
Ganja City Court on Grave Crimes
Case №1 (100)-96/2019
September 19, 2019
Presiding judge: Khagani Samadov
Defendants: Rashad Boyukkishiyev(was killed during detention on 13 July 2018), Oqtay Huseynzade, Eshgin Quliyev, Urfan Mammadov, Huseyn Bayramov, Rauf Bayramov, Elshan Mammadov, Abbas Abbasov.
Defenders: Zarifa Alizade, Khaliq Huseynov, Rufat Akhundov, Adelya Mammadova, Ramil Valiyev, Aida Tagiyeva, Qanqa Ibrahimov, Kamran Kazimov, Ismayil Abishov, Ilqar Shakhmammadov, Muqan Aliyev, Farid Hasanov.
Victims: Afqan Ismayilov, Tural Akbarov, Vusal Safarov, Sarkhan Naqiyev, Nijat Allahverdiyev, Sabuhi Jafarov, Samir Bayramov, Elnur Mammadov, Vuqar Huseynov, Rashad Kazimov, Emin Hasanov, Asiman Mammadov, Asif Damirov, Ziyafat Hasanov, Majid Gurbanov, Tural Qarayev, Nijat Hojayev, Ruslan Gurbanov, Ruslan Askarov, Leyli Abbasova – successor of the victim Seymur Quliyev and Leyli Abbasov’s representative Rustam Zulfugarov.
The hearing of this case took place in the administrative building of Baku Sabunchi district court.
On 03 July 2018, around 20:30 h in Ganja the armed attempt was perpetrated on the Chief of Ganja City Executive Power Elmar Valiyev. At crime scene, police arrested the suspect, Yunis Safarov, a Russian citizen, who seriously wounded the Chief of the Executive Power and his bodyguard. On July 4, 2018, Yunis Safarov’sphotos with the traces of tortures and beatings were disseminated in Mass Media.
The origin of these photos is still unknown. Investigation bodies deny any involvement in them, and unofficial sources bring various versions in regards of the origin of these photos. According to first version, while Yunis Safarov was at Police Department, he was beaten there by a son of the Chief of Executive Power Elmir Valiyev.
According to second version, Yunis Safarov was beaten and tortured by the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department colonel – lieutenant Sarkhan Ismayilov and the Chief Investigative Officer of Ganja City Main Police Department Gorkhmaz Ibrahimov. After capturing the beating to his phone, Sarkhan Ismayilov sent these photos to Elmir Valiyev – a son of Elmar Valiyev. Then, Elmir Valiyev widespread those photos in social networks for intimidation purpose.
On 10 July 2018, a protest action took place in the centre of Ganja, during which a Deputy Chief of Ganja City Main Police Department colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev and a Deputy Chief of Ganja City Nizami District Police Department colonel-lieutenant Samad Abbasov were killed.
The organizers of this action haven’t been found. On 13 July 2018, Rashad Boyukkishiyev was shot dead by police in Shamkir City. He was accused in the murder of Colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev.
On 21 July 2018, previously convicted Anar Bagirov, who was wanted hid in the Khojasan settlement of Binagadi district, was killed during armed resistance.
On 25 July 2018, the resident of Ganja, the member of the “Muslim Unity” Movement Aga Sarkhani was also shot dead during armed resistance. According to the law enforcement officials, Sarkhani was killed during armed resistance. A photo of the murdered Sarkhani was disseminated in Mass Media, where he was lying with gun in his right hand, although in reality he was left-handed.
On July 28, Fuad Samadov was shot dead during the special operation of National Security Service in Samukh city. According to the law enforcement officials, F. Samadov was also killed during armed resistance, and was one of the active members “of the radical religious group” and has participated in the riots in Ganja.
On August 10, Muraz Rahimov was killed by policemen in Sumgayit City. According to law enforcement officials, he was also the member of the radical religious group and was killed during armed resistance during the special police operation in Sumgayit. Muraz Rahimov had been previously arrested for participation in protest action on hosting Eurovision-2012 in Baku.
In connection with the events in Ganja, the General Prosecutor of Azerbaijan held a meeting at which he announced that 77 people involved in the investigation of the events in Ganja had been brought to justice, and 13 people had been put on the wanted list. As a result of investigative measures, five people mentioned above had been liquidated.
Detainees were not provided with lawyers. Elchin Sadigov, well-known lawyer, by taking “sensitive cases”, was removed from Yunis Safarov’s defence, who was accused in assassination attempt on a Chief of the Executive Power of Ganja city Elmar Valiyev due to the complaint lodged by the punitive institution. It was based on that as if E. Sadigov tried to incite Yunis Safarov to file complaints on tortures. Lawyer denies this, and finds this decision to be unlawful and ungrounded. Russian lawyer Yevgeny Sherbatov is also not allowed to defend Y. Safarov.
On July 10, 2018, The General Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Azerbaijan State Security Service issued a joint statement stating that on that day around 8 p.m., a group of radical believers, approximately 150-200 people, attempted to violate public order. Ignoring the police warnings, these people have committed illegal acts and confronted the police by injuring them with blunt and stabbing tools. The police also said that they had been able to detain about 40 people at the scene, while the rest of the protesters managed to escape. The law enforcement authorities expressed regret about the death of two policemen in the square.
All detainees were brought to Ganja City Main Police Department. The criminal case was incriminated against them under following Articles: 120.2.3 (Deliberate murder of a victim in connection with implementation of a given person of service activity or performance of public debt), 120.2.7 (Deliberate murder of two or more persons), 220.1 (Mass disorders), 221.3 (Hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon), 228.4 (Illegal purchase, selling or carrying of gas weapon, cold steel, including throwing weapon) and 315.2 (Application of the violence dangerous to life or health, concerning the representative of the authority, in connection with performance of official duties) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (CC AR).
Indictment states that on 10 July 2018, accused participated in an unauthorised action, committed armed attack on police and caused them physical injuries.
After the completion of the preliminary investigation, the case was brought before the Ganja Serious Crimes Court. Despite the fact that according to the jurisdictional principles, the court should have been held in the city of Ganja, however, the judges of the Ganja Serious Crimes Court went to Baku and all the trials of the so-called “Ganja case” proceeded in the building of the Sabunchi District Court in Baku.
All detainees in the “”Ganja case” were divided into several groups. We describe the trial of one of the groups below.
Rashad Boyukkishiyev, who was killed during a law enforcement operation on 13 July 2018, was charged with crimes under the Articles 120.2.1 (Deliberate murder committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community), 120.2.2 (Deliberate murder committed from hooligan prompting), 120.2.3 (Deliberate murder of a victim in connection with implementation of a given person of service activity or performance of public debt), 120.2.7 (Deliberate murder of two or more persons), 120.2.10 (Deliberate murder committed repeatedly), 120.2.11 (Deliberate murder connected to robbery, extortion, terrorism or gangsters), 29,120.2.1 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed by group of persons, on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community), 29,120.2.2 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed from hooligan prompting), 29,120.2.3 (Attempt of deliberate murder of a victim in connection with implementation of a given person of service activity or performance of public debt), 29,120.2.7 (Attempt of deliberate murder of two or more persons), 29,120.2.10 (Attempt of deliberate murder committed repeatedly), 29, 120.2.11 ( Attempt of deliberate murder connected to robbery, extortion, terrorism or gangsters), 181.2.1 (Burglary committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons), 181.2.3 (Burglary committed with illegal penetration into dwelling, premise, warehouse, or other storehouse), 181.2.4 (Burglary committed with causing damage to the victim in significant size), 182.2.1 (Extortion committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons), 182.2.2 (Extortion committed repeatedly), 182.2.3 (Extortion committed with application of violence), 182.2.4 (Extortion committed with causing damage to a victim in significant size), 214.2.1 (Preparation of terrorism committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons, by organized group or criminal community (criminal organization), 214.2.3 (Preparation of terrorism committed with application of fire-arms or subjects used as a weapon), 214.2.6 (Preparation of terrorism committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 220.1 (Mass disorders), 221.3 (Hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon), 228.3 (Illegal purchase, transfer, selling, storage, transportation and carrying of fire-arms, accessories to it, supplies or explosives, committed by organized group), 228.4 (Illegal acquisition, selling or carrying of gas weapon, cold steel, including throwing weapon, except for districts where carrying of a cold steel is an accessory of a national suit or connected to hunting), 277 (Attempt on life of the state or public authority (act of terrorism), 278.2 (Violent capture power or violent deduction power in infringement of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as directed on violent change of constitutional grounds of the states committed on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 279.1-1 (Creation of a armed formations or groups, which are not provided by the legislation on the base of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 281.2 (Public appeals directed against the state, committed repeatedly or by group of persons) and 315.2 (Resistance or application of violence concerning the representative of authority, committed with violence dangerous to life or health) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (CC AR).
Oqtay Huseynzade, who was a member of that group, was charged under the Articles 120.2.1 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.10, 29, 120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Eshgin Quliyev was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.10, 29, 120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 234.4.3 (Illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics, psychotropic substances in large amount); 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Urfan Mammadov was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Huseyn Bayramov was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 234.4.1 (Illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics, psychotropic substances committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons or organized group), 234.4.3 (Illegal manufacturing, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or selling of narcotics, psychotropic substances committed in large amount); 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Rauf Bayramov was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 234.4.1; 234.4.3; 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Elshan Mammadov was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 234.4.3; 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
The accused Abbas Abbasov was charged under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7; 120.2.10; 120.2.11; 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3, 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1; 214.2.3; 214.2.6; 220.1; 228.3; 228.4; 234.4.3; 277; 278.2; 279.1-1; 281.2 and 315.2 of the CC AR.
According to the charges, since 09 January 2018, Rashad Boyukkishiyev has been periodically committing various crimes, meeting with well-known criminal figures, committing robberies, in the course of which he was causing people injuries of different degrees of severity. From 2017 to 2018, Rashad Boyukkishiyev along with Oqtay Huseynzade, Eshgin Quliyev and Urfan Mammadov, wanted to forcibly change the constitutional system of Azerbaijan in the light of their radical religious views. At the beginning of 2017, after have visited Iran R. Boyukkishiyev together with Oqtay Huseynzade and Eshgin Valiyev organized a meeting with Rovshan Asadov, nicknamed “Musa”, who provided the instructions on committing a terrorist attack. The firearms were hidden in Eshgin Quliyev’s house. On 06 July 2018, previously convicted Rashad Boyukkishiyev was hiding in the house of Elshan Mammadov in Goranboy town. The criminal group members were constantly in touch through WhatsApp and reached an agreement on what each of them should do. On 07 July 2018, Rashad Boyukkishiyev came to Eshgin Quliyev’s house in the city of Ganja.
On 10 July 2018 at about 8 p.m., Rashad Boyukkishiyev and Oqtay Huseynzade took a dagger from Emin Mammadov’s house, Rashad’s brother-in-law, and went to the square in front of the Ganja City Hall. There, in order to commit a terrorist attack and destabilize the public security situation, he snuck into the Deputy Chief of the Ganja Police Headquarters, Colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev, and inflicted two deadly dagger wounds on him by stabbing his lungs and liver. Colonel Ilqar Balakishiyev died from the internal bleeding. After that, Rashad Balakishiyev approached the Deputy Head of the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja city, Lieutenant Colonel Samad Abbasov, and stabbed him twice injuring his left lung and heart. The wounds were fatal. The police officer Samir Bayramov was also injured with a dagger. Immediately thereafter, Rashad Boyukkishiyev attempted to attack Asif Damirov, the senior police sergeant, but the intervention of other police officers prevented that intention. In order to prevent criminal attacks, the police officer Asiman Mammadov used tear gas and forced the criminals to flee. On the night from 10 to 11 July 2018, a member of the criminal group Urfan Mammadov, having met Rashad Boyukkishiyev, hid him and the dagger in the house of Rauf Bayramov in Samukh district. R. Boyukkishiyev was sent to the town of Shamkir the day after. R. Boyukkishiyev was sent to the town of Shamkir. On 13 July 2018, Rashad Boyukkishiyev was killed as a result of a law enforcement operation. Ammunition and a video disc containing anti-government appeals were found in Eshgin Quliyev’s house. Large quantity of drugs had also been found in Quliyev’s house.
According to the charges, Hussein Bayramov was accused of failing to inform the authorities of particularly serious crimes, including the fact that Rashad Boyukkishiyev stayed in the house of his father, Rauf Bayramov.
In the course of preliminary investigation all the accused were subjected to physical and psychological torture.
Eshgin Quliyev did not plead guilty to the charges during the investigation. He testified that he had previously been convicted and since that time he had known Rashad Boyukkishiyev, Abbas Abbasov and Elshan Mammadov. He also confirmed that he had been living on the same street as Oqtay Huseynzade. He wasn’t aware of Oqtay Huseynzade’s nickname, he only knew him as Oqtay. He met Urfan Mammadov after having served his sentence. He had no close relationship with Rashad Boyukkishiyev. He met Huseyn Bayramov for the first time in the courtroom.
Eshgin Quliyev testified that Rashad Boyukkishiyev had called him a few days prior to the events and asked permission to stay at his house. Rashad Boyukkishiyev had been staying with them for a few days, but he had not disclosed his plans. Rashad Boyukkishiyev asked him for Oqtay Huseynzade’s phone number, however, he did not know it.
Eshgin Quliyev also testified that he had been at the Hospital in Baku due to his health condition at the time of the search at his house. He also confirmed that he had been forced to testify after having been tortured. His mother, who was bedridden, and his father had were at home on the day of the search. He had never used drugs. Weapons and drugs had been dropped at his house by the police. He added that he had been to his niece’s birthday party on 10 July 2018, and when he returned home, Rashad Boyukkishiyev had gone. When he heard that Rashad had killed two policemen and fled, he was afraid of being arrested and turned himself in to the police. Eshgin Quliyev also testified that Rashad Boyukkishiyev and Oqtay Huseynzade had traveled to Iran to undergo training to take part in the hostilities in Syria.
It should be emphasized that Eshgin Quliyev had suffered from hepatitis B and C, and been infected with HIV. On 29 September 2019, in 10 days after his conviction, Eshgin Quliyev fell into coma and died. Human rights activists believe that 38-year-old Eshgin Quliyev died as a result of torture-related injuries.
Oqtay Huseynzade also did not plead guilty to the charges. He admitted for being staying at the square for 10 minutes in the evening of 10 July 2018, but he had not been there during the rally. He had not witnessed a crowd of people or a murder. On 12 July 2018, the police came to his house and asked to accompany them to the Police Department. He was first brought to the Ganja City Goygol district police department and then to the Nizami district police department of the city. О. Huseynzade testified that when he had been brought to the investigator, the latter had hit him and asked him, “Do you know who I am?” Oqtay replied, “I don’t know.”
О. Huseynzade said that Orkhan Babayev, an investigator of the Serious Crimes Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Azerbaijan, who was in charge of the Ganja events, had ordered to torture him. О. Huseynzade also indicated that a lawyer had not been appointed until late in the evening, and the one who finally came to assist him was appointed at the expense of the state. One day he had been kept in the Ganja Detention Centre, from where he had been brought to the Baku Detention Centre. He did not receive any medical assistance either in Ganja or Baku. After have spended 8-9 days in the Baku pre-trial detention facilities No. 1, he was promised to be transferred to Ganja, however, with a bag over his head, he was brought to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, where he was subjected to beatings and various kinds of torture for 9 days without being asked any questions or explained whatsoever. Oqtay Huseynzade has testified that he had known only Eshgin Quliyev among the accused. Despite the fact that they all were charged with committing crimes as part of a criminal group, he had not met anyone. He knew Rashad Boyukkishiyev as a Ganja resident, he had never been with him in Iran, he had not inflicted any bodily harm on the policemen, and he had not been seen on the video recordings from the surveillance cameras installed at the square.
Urfan Mammadov has not pleaded guilty to the charges either. He said that he had not been to Ganja on 10 July 2018, that he had not participated in the rally and hadn’t known anything about the rally at all. At 10 p.m., he received a phone call from Rashad Boyukkishiyev, who asked to be picked up near the Metro shop. On the way, Rashad called someone but couldn’t reach anyone, and then asked to be driven to Rauf Bairamov`s house. After driving up to Rauf Bayramov’s house and waiting for 10-15 minutes, Rashad changed his mind to enter Rauf’s house.
Urfan Mammadov testified that he had found out about the events in the square in Ganja on TV, and he had become horrified for Rashad Boyukkishiyev and himself. On 20 July 2018, the police officers came to his house and asked him to proceed to the Ganja Nizami District Police Department. The Head of the Department asked U. Mammadov to tell him everything he knew. At that moment Urfan Mammadov was frightened and did not say anything about meeting with Rashad Boyukkishiyev. The Head of the Police Department let him go and ordered to come back next morning. The day after being in the Head of the police office, he was beaten by 7 or 8 people. Two men with electric stun guns approached him and demanded a videotape. When Urfan Mammadov said that he hadn’t had any video, they electrocuted his head and genitals. The next morning U. Mammadov was interrogated by some general, after which he was taken to Baku to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, where he was again subjected to beatings and torture with the use of electric shockers. The defendant testified that after that, a procurator’s officer came over to interrogate him without the presence of a lawyer, and then wrote down something threatening him and made him sign what he had written. A lawyer was appointed after the interrogation.
Moreover, Urfan Mammadov said that he, as well as everybody else, had been sent photos of the rally to his cell phone. However, he neither sent any pictures or video to anyone, not published anything. He has not seen Rashad Boyukkishiyev either prior to the events of 10 July. He spoke to Rashad on the phone on 02 July, asked how he had been doing, whereas Rashad did not mention the rally. Urfan also said that he had not seen Rashad Boyukkishiyev holding a dagger or knife.
Huseyn Bayramov also failed to plead guilty to the charges. He testified that in spring 2018 he left for Turkey to work and, on 06 July 2018, he and his family returned to Azerbaijan to celebrate his birthday. Then he went to Shamkir to earn money to return to Turkey. On 10 July 2018, a friend of his asked for help in the workshop where he was working. He met Rashad Boyukkishiyev close to the shop, whom he had known since 2015. Rashad asked him to catch a taxi, he helped him and returned home. On 16-17 July 2018, Huseyn Bayramov came back to Turkey. Though in Turkey, he was detained by the police that informed him that he hadn’t have a residency status and brought him to a temporary detention facility. A Turkish lawyer told Huseyn Bayramov that he had been sought in connection with some criminal case. After contacting his mother, H. Bayramov found out that his father Rauf Bayramov had been detained in connection with the Ganja events. The lawyer offered Bayramov three options: he should stay in the Turkish detention center for a year, or return to Azerbaijan, or fly to a third country. According to Bayramov, he returned to Azerbaijan because of his father’s arrest and because he knew he had not been implicated into the Ganja events. In his trial, Huseyn Bayramov pointed out that if he had been to blame in this case, he would have preferred to stay in Turkey or have left for another country.
After deportation from Turkey, the Azerbaijani police detained Huseyn Bayramov at the airport. He was brought to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where the next morning he was subjected to terrible torture. The torture was particularly brutal and he was forced to sign some documents without being informed of their contents. A few hours later, an investigator arrived, after which Huseyn was taken down to the first floor, where he continued to be tortured. Then the investigator came back and read the written by him confession, when Bayramov refused to sign, the tortures resumed. His denial made the investigator mad, he grabbed Huseyn by his jacket and said that he would throw him out of the window, and he would tell everyone that while he was going to get a piece of paper, H. Bayramov jumped out the window, which would be discovered only when the investigator comes back. The investigator stipulated either H. Bayramov would sign the written papers, or would die or be tortured again. Hussein was obliged to sign the papers. He also testified that he had participated in the hostilities in Karabakh on 01-02 April 2016, after which he was awarded an honorary decoration. Apart from his father, he did not know any of those arrested in this case. He also said that he was not aware whether the witnesses had been in attendance at the search of his house. He also reported that he had never used or sold drugs found during the search in his place.
Huseyn Bayramov’s father, the accused Rauf Bayramov, also failed to plead guilty to the charges. Rauf Bayramov testified that on 10 July 2018, Urfan Mammadov had called him and said he would come to the village for the usual fishing trips. When they were going fishing, Rashad Boyukkishiyev and two other guys came over. After all the guys split up, he saw Rashad near the tree in the yard. When Rashad left, the cops came up to the house looking for Hussein. Rauf Bayramov told them that his son Huseyn had been in Turkey for work. The policemen asked him to go with them to the Ganja City Police Department for some clarifications. Then Rauf Bayramov was brought to the Nizami District Police Department in Ganja. There, he was shown a photograph of an unknown person and asked if it was his son. It wasn’t. Rauf Bayramov was allowed to go home. 4-5 hours later, the police came again and asked him to follow them to the police department of Ganja Nizami district to see investigator Orhan Babayev
The investigator asked Rauf if he had met Rashad Boyukkishiyev. Bayramov did not deny his acquaintance with Rashad Boyukkishiyev, but did not know anything about Rashad’s committed crime. At that moment the investigator hit Rauf and he fell. R. Bayramov was asked where Rashad had hidden his dagger, to which he replied that he did not know what it was about and that he had not seen any dagger at all. After that, he was severely beaten and brutally tortured.
Then Rauf was brought to his village, and he showed where he had last seen Rashad Boyukkishiyev. There, the police found the dagger wrapped in a shirt. He was told that he had allegedly hidden the dagger himself. Rauf Bayramov replied that if he did, he would not tolerate torture and immediately showed them the place where the dagger was. The police then came into his house and slipped everything they wanted.
In the trial R. Bayramov indicated that he was a highly moral and religious man, his father was a teacher and his grandfather was killed during the Second World War. He also testified that he had not had any conversations with Rashad Boyukkishiyev about forced change of the constitutional system and any other crimes. Rauf Bayramov also said that on 10 July 2018, he was at home, and did not participate in the rally. He knew nothing about Rashad Boyukkishiyev’s plans. He also said that he had never met Abbas Abbasov, Elshan Mammadov, Eshgin Quliyev and the only person he knew was Oqtay Huseynzade.
Elshan Mammadov also failed to plead guilty to the charges. During the trial, he testified that he had met Rashad Boyukkishiyev since serving his sentence in colony No. 6, but he had no close relationship with him. He knew Abbas Abbasov, who was a car dealer. On 02 July 2018, Abbasov called and asked him to accompany him to Ganja to see some car. The car turned out to be sold and they went to Eshgin Quliyev’s house, where they accidentally met Rashad Boyukkishiyev. Then they all drove together to Goranboy. Elshan Mammadov indicated that he had not known that Rashad had been wanted. After that he had not been in touch with Rashad Boyukkishiyev and Eshgin Quliyev.
On 10 July 2018, he drove the clients from Goranboy to Balakan. On 11 July 2018, he found out about the Ganja rally and Rashad Boyukkishiyev’s participation in it. On 22 July 2018, while visiting his cousin in Goranboy, he received a call from the Goranboy Police Station and was told there had been a complaint against him. At the end of the conversation, Rashad Boyukkishiyev was called up to the station. There he was photographed, handcuffed and brought to Ganja. At the police station, he was told that he had allegedly known about Rashad Boyukkishiyev’s video and his participation in the rally. When Elshan Mammadov said that he had not known about it, they immediately began to torture him. On 24 July 2018, he was brought to Baku to the Interior Ministry’s Main Department for Combating Organized Crime, where he was subjected to terrible torture. While being beaten up, he fainted three times. Then a lawyer, Shahin Dadashev, was invited, and in his presence Mammadov stated that he had nothing to do with the events in Ganja. However, despite that, he was tortured again. He was forced to confess that he had been the one who shot the video of Rashad Boyukkishiyev. The police made him sign a confession in the layer’s presence.
Moreover, Elshan Mammadov informed the court that he was a person with a 2nd group disability, had not served in the army, and had never held both bomb and weapon or used drugs. He also testified that while on his way to Baku to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he was asked for his address, after which bombs, bullets and drugs were dropped in his house.
Abbas Abbasov also failed to plead guilty to the charges. Abbas Abbasov testified that he had seen Rashad Boyukkishiyev at Eshgin Quliyev’s house. On 07 July 2018, Abbas Abbasov received a call from Elshan Mammadov asking him to take Rashad Boyukkishiyev to Ganja. Abbas Abbasov said that the news concerning the police officer’s murder by Rashad Boyukkishiyev on 10 July 2018 was broadcast on television. In the course of the trial, Abbasov also confessed that until 02 July, he hadn’t had any connections with Rashad Boyukkishiyev, he had never called him via WhatsApp and had never discussed any actions with anyone.
At the trial, most of the witnesses in the case were the police officers. The case file contains the results of forensic examination of 13 July 2018 which concerned Rashad Boyukkishiyev’s body. It should be noted that R. Boyukkishiyev was killed during the arrest operation. And according to the law enforcement authorities, he was resisting and therefore was killed. One detail should be pointed out here: R. Boyukkishiyev was killed on 13 July, and the results of the expertise were also of the 13 July. It means that the murder, forensic examination, as well as the conclusion writing have been done in just one (!) day.
The results of the expertise conducted on 12 June 2019, have determined that on the bodies of Elshan Mammadov, Oqtay Huseynzade and Urfan Mammadov were found injuries. It was stated in the expertise conclusion that the blows had been caused by a blunt solid object. The expert examination also revealed the approximate time of inflicting injuries, which was indicated as a year and a half ago. It was concluded that the injuries could have been caused by someone other than the victim himself. However, complaints (appeals) filed by Oqtay Huseynzade on 14 September 2018, and Urfan Mammadov on 01 November 2018 about the initiation of criminal proceedings on the fact of torture have been rejected.
The state prosecutor proposed to the court to modify the charges in the following parts:
to drop charges against Rashad Boyukkishiyev under the Articles 120.2.10 and 277 of the CC AR;
to drop charges against Oqtay Huseynzade, Eshgin Quliyev and Urfan Mammadov under the Articles 120.2.10, 29,120.2.10 and 277 of the CC AR.;
the charges under the Articles 120.2.1, 120.2.3, 120.2.7., 120.2.10, 120.2.11., 29,120.2.1, 29,120.2.3., 29,120.2.7, 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1., 214.2.3., 214.2.6., 220.1., 277, 278.2., 279.1-1, 281.2., 315.2 CC AR against Rauf Bayramov; should be reclassified to the Articles 307.3 of the CC AR; the Article 234.4.1 should be excluded from the charges; the Article 228.3 should be reclassified to the Article 228.1 of the CC AR, his offenses shall be qualified under the Articles 228.1; 228.4; 234.4.3, and 307.3 of the CC AR.;
the charges under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3, 120.2.7., 120.2.10, 120.2.11, 29,120.2.1., 29,120.2.3., 29,120.2.7., 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1., 214.2.3., 214.2.6., 220.1., 228.4, 228.3., 277, 278.2., 279.1-1, 281.2., 315.2. CC AR against Huseyn Bayramov should be reclassified to the Article 307.3 of the CC AR, to drop charges under the Articles 234.4.1 and 234.4.3 of the CC AR;
the charges under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3, 120.2.7., 120.2.10, 120.2.11, 29,120.2.1., 29,120.2.3., 29,120.2.7., 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1., 214.2.3., 214.2.6., 220.1., 228.4, 228.3., 277, 278.2., 279.1-1, 281.2., 315.2. CC AR against Elshan Mammadov should be reclassified to the Article 307.3 of the CC AR, the Article 228.3 should be reclassified to the Article 228.1 and the Article 234.4.3 to the Article 234.1 of the CC AR;
the charges under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3, 120.2.7., 120.2.10, 120.2.11, 29,120.2.1., 29,120.2.3., 29,120.2.7., 29,120.2.10, 29,120.2.11, 214.2.1., 214.2.3., 214.2.6., 220.1., 278.2., 279.1-1, 281.2., 315.2. CC AR against Abbas Abbasov should be reclassified to the Article 307.3 of the CC AR, the Article 228.3 should be reclassified to the Article 228.1 and the Article 234.4.3 to the Article 234.1 of the CC AR;
The Court expressed its position on the issue of torture of the accused as follows: there was no evidence of torture in the case and the police officers, as victims and witnesses, did not confirm it.
On 19 September 2019, theGanja City Court on Grave Crimes rendered its verdict. According to the sentence:
Rashad Boyukkishiyev was found guilty of crimes under the Articles 120.2.1; 120.2.3; 120.2.7, 120.2.11, 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.2, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.10, 29, 120.2.11, 181.2.1, 181.2.3, 181.2.4, 182.2.1, 182.2.2, 182.2.3, 182.2.4, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 220.1, 221.3, 228.3, 228.4, 278.2, 279.1-1, 281.2, 315.2 of the CC AR. In view of his death, he had not been sentenced;
Oqtay Huseynzade was found guilty of crimes under the Articles120.2.1, 120.2.3, 120.2.7, 120.2.11, 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 220.1, 228.3, 228.4, 278.2, 279.1-1, 281.2, 315.2 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment;
Eshgin Quliyev was found guilty of crimes under the Articles 120.2.1, 120.2.3, 120.2.7, 120.2.11, 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 220.1, 228.3, 228.4, 234.4.3, 278.2, 279.1-1, 281.2, and 315.2 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. On 29 September 2019, E. Quliyev died in the Medical Institution of the Penitentiary Service;
Urfan Mammadov was found guilty of offences under the Articles 120.2.1, 120.2.3, 120.2.7, 120.2.11, 29, 120.2.1, 29, 120.2.3, 29, 120.2.7, 29, 120.2.11, 214.2.1, 214.2.3, 214.2.6, 220.1, 228.3, 228.4, 278.2, 279.1-1, 281.2. and 315.2 of the CC AR and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment;
Huseyn Bayramov was found guilty of a crime under the Article 307.3 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment;
Rauf Bayramov was found guilty of crimes under the Articles 228.1; 228.4; 234.4.3 and 307.3 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment;
Elshan Mammadov was found guilty of crimes under the Articles 228.1, 234.1, and 307.3 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment;
Abbas Abbasov was found guilty of crimes under the Articles 228.1; 234.1, and 307.3 of the CC AR. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.
Commentary by an expert lawyer:
The court verdict is illegal and unjustified. There are basic principles of criminal proceedings listed in the Article 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (CPC AR), one of which is to ensure protection of any person and citizen against illegal restriction of his/her rights and freedoms. This article also states that “violation of the principles or conditions governing criminal proceedings may render the completed criminal proceedings invalid, cause the decisions taken during them to be annulled and deprive the evidence collected of its value” (Article 9.2 of the CPC AR).
Law enforcement and judicial authorities must respect an accused individual’s honour and dignity during the investigation. During a criminal prosecution nobody shall:
be subjected to treatment or punishment that debases human dignity (Article 13.2.1 of the CPC AR);
be held in conditions that debase human dignity (Article 13.2.2 of the CPC AR);
be forced to participate in carrying out procedures that debase human dignity (Article 13.2.3 of the CPC AR).
According to the Article 15.2 of the CPC AR, during the criminal prosecution the following shall be prohibited:
the use of torture and physical and psychological force, including the use of medication, withdrawal of food, hypnosis, deprivation of medical aid and the use of other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment (Article 15.2.1 of the CPC AR);
taking evidence from victims, suspects or accused persons or from other participants in the criminal proceedings using violence, threats, deceit or by other unlawful acts which violate their rights (Article 15.2.3 of the CPC AR);
Article 125 of the CPC AR states:
125.1 If there is no doubt as to the accuracy and source of the information, documents and other items and as to the circumstances in which they were obtained, they may be accepted as evidence;
125.2. Information, documents and other items shall not be accepted as evidence in a criminal case if they are obtained in the following circumstances:
125.2.1. if the accuracy of the evidence is or may be affected by the fact that the parties to the criminal proceedings are deprived of their lawful rights, or those rights are restricted, through violation of their constitutional human and civil rights and liberties or other requirements of this Code;
125.2.2. through the use of violence, threats, deceit, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts;
125.2.3. through violation of the defence rights of the suspect or accused, or the rights of a person who does not know the language used in the criminal proceedings;
125.2.4. where the rights and duties of a party to the criminal proceedings are not explained, or not explained fully and accurately and, as a result, he exercises them wrongly;
125.2.7. where the rules governing investigative or other procedures are seriously violated.
According to defendants’ testimonies, they all were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment. They were tortured to provide their “confessions”, which became the basis of the indictment.
The expertise indicated that some of the defendants had been injured; these injuries inflictions occurred in the middle of 2018
Artice 46 (III) of the Constitution of Azerbaijan states: “Nobody must be subject to tortures and torment, treatment or punishment humiliating the dignity of human beings. Medical, scientific and other experiments must not be carried out on any person without his/her consent”.
On 10 March 2000, the Decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic “On the activity of the courts in the area of human rights and freedoms protection during the justice procedure” states: «6. In the course of justice procedures it is inadmissible to use evidence obtained in an unlawful manner. Therefore, the courts should not consider such evidences at the trial. If the court comes to a conclusion that bodies of inquiry and preliminary investigation have submitted the illegally acquired evidences, then, in all cases, the court should exclude these evidences from the overall number of other evidences and make its decision regarding the actions of officials…”.
The Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms prohibits torture and inhuman treatment. Numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) guarantee the individual’s protection from physical and psychological abuse. In the case of “Laidzhev v. Azerbaijan”, the ECHR judgment issued on the 10th of April 2014 said, “39. The Court reiterates that the Article 3 constitutes one of the fundamental values of a democratic society. Even in complex situations such as the fight against terrorism and organised crime, the Convention categorically prohibits torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
“In order to fall within the scope of the Article 3, a minimum level of maltreatment is a must. In order to determine this minimum level, all the case circumstances must be taken into account, including the date of the torture, a detainee’s physical and mental condition and, in some cases, the victim’s gender, age and state of health” (Ireland v. the United Kingdom judgment from January 18, 1978).
The Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation”.
The Criminal Procedure Law (Article 346.1 of the CPC AR) contains a list of issues to be resolved by the court upon their meeting in an advisory room:
whether the criminal act is proved;
whether it is proved that the act committed by the accused has a criminal content;
whether it is proved that the accused was connected with the commission of the offence;
whether the accused is proved guilty of committing the offence;
whether the act committed by the accused corresponds to the ingredients of the offence with which the accused is charged under the relevant provision of criminal law;
whether there are circumstances that preclude the act being an offence;
whether there are circumstances aggravating or mitigating the criminal responsibility of the accused;
whether there are grounds for exonerating the accused from criminal responsibility;
whether the accused should be punished for the act committed;
whether there are grounds for punishing the accused for reoffending;
which punishment to impose on the accused (including consideration of previous offences, the total number of offences, the total length of sentences, the combination of penalties, calculation of the length of sentences, an alternative penalty, reduction of sentence, the jurors’ recommendation of a lighter sentence instead of the statutory penalty provided for in respect of this offence, and the possibility of imposing a conditional sentence);
whether the accused should serve the sentence;
if the accused is sentenced to deprivation of liberty, to which penal or corrective institution he should be committed;
whether it is necessary to impose additional penalties on the person found guilty of the offence, and if so, which penalty;
whether it is possible to apply compulsory corrective training measures to an under-age accused and, if so, which measures;
whether it is possible to apply compulsory measures of a medical nature to the accused and, if so, which measures;
in whose interest and for what amount the civil claim should be secured;
whether the attachment of property, either for the purpose of confiscation or to pay for the damage caused by the offence, should be rescinded;
how to decide the matter of the material evidence;
whether to annul, modify or adopt a restrictive measure (and if so, which measure), including how to resolve the matter of bail;
whom to charge with the court expenses, and their amount;
when the sentence is to start;
whether there are grounds for giving a special decision; if so, about whom it will be given and what its content will be.
During the hearing of the case, the court ignored their direct duties and failed to resolve a number of issues listed in the above Article 346 of the СЗС AR.
The Article 349.5 of the CPC AR says about the legitimacy and motivation of the court sentence.
In the following cases the court judgment shall be considered well-founded:
if the conclusions at which the court arrives are based only on the evidence examined during the court’s investigation of the case;
if the evidence is sufficient to assess the charge;
if the facts established by the court are consistent with the evidence investigated.
As it is seen from the verdict, the court’s conclusions are mainly based on the evidence provided by the prosecution. The evidences submitted by the defense have not been taken into account by the court during the sentencing procedures. Moreover, all doubts in the course of the trial have not been interpreted in favor of the accused but rather in favor of the investigation.
Particular attention should be paid to the nature of the sentencing. The Article 58 of the Criminal Code refers to the fairness of the imposed punishment. A stricter type or maximum penalty from the number of punishments stipulated for the committed crime is imposed only if a less severe type or maximum penalty cannot ensure ensuring the objectives of the punishment. Unfortunately, the court did not specify the circumstances under which the accused could be sentenced to a less severe sentence. Most of the accused were sentenced to the most severe punishment. In the meantime, there was no irrefutable evidences of guilt in the criminal case.
Thus, the court’s verdict condemning the guilt and severe punishment of the accused in the case is not either justified or legitimized. It has violated the fundamental principles of a democratic society. The most heinous violation was the use of torture, which is unacceptable in any case, be it in the fight against terrorism, war or organized crime