Law Enforcement Agencies of Azerbaijan sanction murders

Law Enforcement Agencies of Azerbaijan sanction murders 


Madat Guiyev
Head of State Security Service

Zakir Garalov
Prosecutor General

Ramil Usubov
Minister of Interior

 

4 May 2017(updated on the 27s of July 2018)

Investigation of the Institute for Peace and Democracy: 

Law Enforcement Agencies of Azerbaijan sanction murders.

On Novermber 26, 2015 police officers armed with machine guns stormed into the houses of Nardaran village residents (a village situated about 30 km away from the capital Baku) and opened fire against the villagers, killing two of their own fellow police officer and causing heavy wounds for six of the residents of the village. More than seventy people were arrested and four of the detained died as a result of tortures.
This act of crime did not go unnoticed by the international human rights community, which made sound statements pointing out gravity of crimes committed and called for the investigation of these crimes and for release of illegally detained citizens:
1. Severe Torture and Unfair Trials of Members of the Nardaran Community – OMCT. – http://www.contact.az/ext/news/2016/12/free/politics%20news/en/58985.htm 2.Azerbaijan: Abuse Allegations Mar High-Profile Trial. – http://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/26/azerbaijan-abuse-allegations-mar-high-profile-trial
3. Amnesty International Public Statement. Azerbaijan: Torture and Travesty of Justice in Nardaran Case. – https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/EUR5556332017ENGLISH.pdf

Murder in custody is a usual practice for Azerbaijan.
Investigation of the Center for Monitoring of political prisoners revealed that on December 22, 2014 imprisoned Elshad Babayev died of tortures in colony number 14; on October 7, 2015 the only witness to the crime Yadigar Nuriyev also died in unknown circumstances in the colony number 14.
On April 28, 2017  prisoner of conscious -blogger Mehman Galandarov was found dead in the pre-trial detention facility number 1.  Galandarov who used to teach philosophy, sociology and political science was arrested on February 7, 2017. He was listed under number 8 in the category “Journalists and Bloggers” in our list of political prisoners published on March 31, 2017 (http://www.contact.az/advertisements/Список%20на%2031%20марта%202017.doc).
According to the information of Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), M. Galandarov was arrested on the same day as he expressed support on his Facebook page to the prisoner of conscious Giyas Bayramov, who called on the country’s citizens not to be slaves.
Authorities systematically arrest people for sharing critical thoughts on Facebook. The critics, bloggers are usually imprisoned for “ possessing or selling narcotics”. The same charges were used against Galandarov.  On the very day as he shared his support to Giyas Bayramov on Facebook, Nasimi District Court put him in pre-trial detention for 3 months. Yet, Galandarov must have been beaten to death already on April 28.  Interestingly enough, the official report of authorities  presented this death as a suicide, as if a 40 years old blogger hung himself in a broad daylight in the prison sell while his fellow prison mate was sleeping. Of course, this version lacks any reason: – it is forbidden to sleep during the day in the pre-trial detention facility number 1; – there are no conditions to commit suicide/hang yourself in the prison cell; –  there was no forensic examination of the body to find out the reasons that caused his death; – Galandarov’s body was not given to his relatives and they were not allow to bury him; – Prison staff of Pre-Trial detention facility buried Galandarov without any witnesses next to the graves of his parents.
One of the main goals of any criminal is to conceal the traces of crime in order to avoid punishment and take no responsibility for it.
This the operational mode of the so-called law-enforcement and judicial systems in Azerbaijan, but it is not possible to hide crimes forever: sooner or later all the crimes become known.
Assassination of Mehman Galandarov became known to the international community almost immediately and the calls to find the criminals were voiced instantly.
On May 3 the US Department of State made a special statement calling to find murderers of Mahman Galanadarov:
United States Calls for Investigation Into Death of Mehman Galandarov – https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/05/270623.htm
Decision of the ECHR dated April 13, 2017 about failure of authorities to investigate murder of journalist Elmar Huseynov shot in front of his apartment on March 2, 2005 as well as following decision about death in custody of Mahir Mustafayev on December 3, 2006 gave our organization an opportunity to start a special report on detention facilities of Azerbaijan turning into «death camps».
No employee of the law-enforcement bodies (Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of National Security/State Security Service, Ministry of Justice) was not brought to justice although death in custody happens on the regular basis.  No measures were taken to protect the right to life of prisoners or to  prevent tortures by the so-called “Public committee for monitoring of places of detention” or by the  Ombudsman.
Mass arrests and murders of citizens that started in May 2017 left behind all the previous crimes of the regime.
On May 7, 2017 the Prosecutor General, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs and State Security Service issued a joint statement on revealing a group of military personnel and civilians that have been compromising military secrets to the intelligence and special units of the Armenian Armed Forces (for mere satisfaction of  «material interests»).   Authorities opened a criminal case with article 274 (state treason) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan and launched a special investigative group with the members of the above-mentioned agencies.
On May 7  the wave of arrests affecting not just the military but also civilian residents of the villages in close proximity of the frontline, targeted mainly Tartar region.  On May 7-8 media reported 47 arrests within one day, yet they did not specify names of the detainees. After that date press stopped reporting the arrests, yet unconfirmed information from the frontline suggested that number of  arrested people reached 400  by May 17.
People were taken from their homes or from the work places. The arrests were taking places without providing the accused with the lawyer, the imprisonment was happening without the court decisions.  Journalists and editors reporting on these arrests were called into the Prosecutor general’s office to warn them against distribution of «state secrets».( Till 7 June 2017 6 editors were called into Prosecutor generals”s office).  This is what the Deputy Prosecutor General Rustam Usubov  threatened to use against the editor of the website basta.info Mustafa Hajibeyli on May 23: http://www.contact.az/ext/news/2017/5/free/Social/ru/62537.htm and http://www.contact.az/ext/news/2017/5/free/Social/en/62537.htm
On May 16  we already started receiving information about individuals tortured to death. As of May 24  IPD  was provided information about death of 5 people killed without investigation or trial:
1. Mehman Telman ogly Huseynov, born in 1987, was arrested on May 7 in his own house in Jamilli village of Tartar region. On May 16 his body was brought to his wife who is now raising her two little children alone. The family was not allowed   to bury Mehman Huseynov in the cemetery as he was “an enemy and a traitor”. Huseynov was buried outside of the cemetery of Agkand village without observing traditions and saying prayers.
2.  Sahavat Binnatov was arrested on May 7 in his house in the village Jamilli of Tartar region. On May 17 the body of beaten to death Binnatov was returned to the family, also banned from burying him in the village cemetery. The place of burial is unknown.
3.   Colonel Saleh Charif oglu  Gafarov was arrested on May 4 in his own apartment in the village Kutkashen Gabala district. The policemen  of the Gabala Police Department literally burst into the house and took away S.Gafarov without presenting any warrant for arrest. On May 14 his body was brought to the village Kutkashen. The members of the family were not even allowed to see the face of the deceased. Dug in the cemetery, which was surrounded by soldiers who did not allow relatives to the body of the colonel.
4.  Elchin Guliyev, resident of Tartar region was arrested on May 10-11.  His body too was returned to the family on May 18 with the same explanation that he was spying for Armenia.
5.  Leutenant  Tamkin Nizamioglu, born in 1993, was arrested on May 12.  His body was returned to his native village  Darkand in Ordubad region (Nakchivan)  in the sealed coffin. His family was not allowed to see the body or to bury him. The members of special services themselves performed the burial and only after that announced the family about the death of their relative.
How many more deaths or victims of this unlawfulness  shall we see in this country,  a member of the CoE and of the OSCE?  How long would the international community agree to turn a blind eye to the awful crimes of dictator regime in Azerbaijan?
Amidst all these crimes,  on May 22,  the delegation of European Parliament led by the member of the European People’s Party of Germany David McAllister met with President Ilham Aliyev (http://www.contact.az/ext/news/2017/5/subsc/politics%20news/ru/62475.htm and http://www.contact.az/ext/news/2017/5/subsc/politics%20news/en/62475.htm)
European Union is going to sign a partnership agreement with Azerbaijan.
IPD is calling the international organizations of Europe and the US not to turn a blind eye on a complete breakdown of law and order and bloody crimes of the ruling regime in Azerbaijan. The never-ending crimes and murders can and have to become subject of investigation of the International Tribunal in Hague.
IPD calls reputable international human rights organizations such as OMCT, HRW, Freedom House, Amnesty International and FIHD to start an independent investigation of the murder of citizens of Azerbaijan, mass repressions in the frontline zone and to prevent further escalation of violence and prevent new cruel murders.

October 1, 2017                                                 

IPD investigation discovered new facts:
Another soldier was deadly beaten. Soldier of service for a fixed period Dayndur Nuru oglu Azizli, born in 1995, was drafted to the army in 2016. On May 12, 2017 he was arrested in Terter region. On July 20, police brought the coffin containing his body to his parents. Relatives managed to open the coffin and see the body of D. Azizli. His face was mutilated after brutal tortures.
IPD has received shocking information of the homicide of 39 years old colonel- lieutenant Saleh Sharif oglu Qafarov.
On May 5, 2017, the relatives of kidnapped by police colonel addressed to the police of Qabala district with the request to present them the proofs of the arrest, but they have not received any documents from the police.
On May 6, Prosecutor Office of Qabala district passed to the Qafarov’s family warrant for the arrest of colonel on charges of treason. The relatives were told that colonel was taken to Terter region and he was passed over to the Military Procurator’s office. The relatives have appealed to Military Procurator’s office as well as to the General Prosecutor, however they have not received any information regarding colonel’s location.
On May 14, after his funeral, his two brothers residing in Russia arrived to visit their mother. However, later, two brothers were not allowed to leave Azerbaijan and depart for Moscow. They were stopped at the passport control at Baku airport. They were told that they have to go back and wait for the permission to leave Azerbaijan. ?…. This permission was only granted to Qafarov brothers – Russian citizens on June 15, 2017.
The documents that were handed to IPD by Qafarov’s family amaze with their contradictions and testify on the total violation of law in Azerbaijan:
– The letter written on the blank of Military Procurator’s office № HP02 /2796 from June 16, 2017 addressed to the Military Prosecutor of Baku city – Imran Ahmedov (copy was sent to the mother of the colonel Qafarov – Qanire Qafarova)from the chief of the department of grave crimes by Military Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic -Mehti Huseynzade. The letter states that in response to Ganira Gafarova’s request to receive a certificate of her son’s death and to investigate the causes of death of former serviceman of the military unit of Defense Ministry No. 701 Salekh Sharif oglu Gafarov, it was decided to respond to her request


– On July 15, 2017, a certificate of the death of Salekh Gafarov was issued on May 13, 2017 in the Military Hospital of the Ministry of Defense against the decomposition of the lungs.

– Full amazement is evoked by Ganira Gafarova’s letter from the Ombursman’s office signed by Ombudsman of Azerbaijan Elmira Suleymanova on August 9, 2017, for No. 1 / 10938-17, in which it is written:

“Dear Ganira-khanum,
The investigation of the facts mentioned in your complaint to Ombudsman’s office that your son Gafarov Salekh Sharif oglu on May 14, 2017 ( S. Gafarov was arrested on May 4 – L.Y.) around 23.50 was taken from home by
employees of the Gabala district prosecutor’s office and police, about his death after 10 days ((S.Gafarov died according to the death certificate on May 13-L.Y.), about burial of a corpse, without giving you the opportunity to see it, not giving you information about the causes of your son’s death, not providing a death certificate (The death certificate was issued to the family on July 15 -L.Y.) was entrusted to the General Prosecutor’s Office of AR.
According to the received answers, on June 17, 2017, the Baku Military Prosecutor’s Office initiated the criminal case under No. 172256046 under articles 120.1, 341.2.1 and 341.2.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan on the death of Colonel Gafarov Saleh Sharif oglu.

On June 18, 2017, servicemen of the military unit No. 057 of the Ministry of Defense, junior warrant officer Aghadadashov Javid Zahid oglu and senior warrant officer Dzhamshudov Gurban Gadim oglu were detained as suspects under articles 341.2.1 and 341.2.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. On June 20, 2017, in respect of these warrant officers, as a defendant, under the decision of the Baku Military Court, a preventive measure – 3 months of imprisonment was chosen for the articles 125, 341.2.1 and 341.2.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

Currently, investigation is being carried out in the Office of Grave Crimes of the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the AR.

You were informed about this, and on July 14, 2017, you received a forensic medical examination of the MO on the death of your son.
Sincerely, E. Suleymanova”

How could two warrant officers kill colonel, who was detained by the police of Qabala region and conveyed to the Military Procurator’s office of Terter region? Military Procurator’s Office holds an investigation on the case of “Armenians spies”, and on May 4, they take colonel Qafarov away in capacity of suspect to this case. On May 6, they issue the warrant to his arrest. On May 13, he dies in Baku city Military Hospital. On May 14, he is buried, without allowing his family to say goodbye to him. His brothers are not allowed to leave the country during one month. All these violations of law were organized by two warrant officers. How is this possible?
On September 27, 2017 the widow of killed colonel Natavan Qafarova, born in 1985, mother of two kids, was invited via phone to come to General Prosecution Office on September 29, at 11:00 without elucidating the reason.
Lawyer Zubeyda Sadikhova accompanied Natavan Qafarova to the meeting at Prosecutor’s office. For more than 4 hours, Natavan Qafarova answered to the questions of Anar Nasibov – the investigator of the Military Prosecutor’s Office. The latter informed N. Qafarova that she is recognized as victim. He called the names of two accused – two warrant officers in the homicide of her husband, he said that currently there is investigation, and in the end of the year there will be the court.
But the investigator Anar Nasibov was unable to answer the questions of Natavan Gafarova:
– Why I was not allowed to see the body of my beloved husband?
– How could warrant officers of military unit #57 kill colonel, who was detained by the police of Qabala region and conveyed to the Military Procurator’s office of Terter region?
– Why even now I am not allowed to see the photo of my beloved husband? – Why during burial the whole graveyard was encircled by the soldiers? – Why was it needed to block the access of the family to body of the killed with the force of almost 200 soldiers? – On which grounds and by whom was it ordered not to allow brothers of the killed to leave the country? On September 29, in the evening, IPD disseminated all the information regarding the institution of the criminal case in Military Procurator’s office in relation of the homicide of colonel – lieutenant S. Qafarov, There is not any information related to other 5 homicides cases of the citizens of Azerbaijan at all.
Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Zakir Garalov reacted to the information of the IPD immediately: on Saturday, September 30, he told journalists that by the end of this year the investigation into the case of a group of military and civilians accused of espionage will be completed. According to him, the group was identified by the Ministry of Defense, and currently the investigation is conducted by the Military Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.

Preliminary conclusion of the IPD

Families of six arrested men received information about the murders of relatives, but their corpses were not given out to families, and either the police or the military were buried. Only on the fact of the murder of Colonel S. Gafarov the Military Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case, accusing two warrant officers.
The accusation of two warrant officers of the active military unit in the murder of the arrested colonel, who was under investigation by the Military Prosecutor’s Office, can not stand up to any criticism
We can assume the following:
During May-July, 2017, more than a hundred servicemen and civilians were arrested on charges of espionage. The detainees were not provided with lawyers, there were no trials in which the accused were charged and a decision was taken on remand in custody.From the very first hours of detention, all the suspects were subjected to brutal torture. How many people died after torture, we do not know. The total number of detainees is also unknown. A number of detainees could not stand torture and confessed to treason. Their trial is likely to take place at the end of the year.

However, it was not possible to hide the murders of citizens under torture.The most active in demanding disclosure of the murder was the family of Colonel S. Gafarov

To two arrested on charges of espionage warrant officers: Aghadadashov Javid Zahid oglu and Jumshudov Gurban Gadim oglu was offered to take on the murder of the colonel instead of the charges of treason to the Motherland.
The trial for this murder is also planned for the end of the year
It was not necessary to bring the evidence of the crimes during both of this trials, because both trials will be closed.

July 27, 2018
Investigation of IPD revealed new facts     

Another soldier was beaten to death in Azerbaijan. Captain Suleyman Seyidaga oglu Kazymov was born in 1987 in the village Amankend of Djalilabad District. He graduated from Baku Military School by Nakhchevanski. After his graduation he served 6 years in Agdam as the commanding officer of battalion. Then he was transferred to Terter District as the deputy of the commanding officer of the regiment at military unit #701. He was arrested in May 2017 – in the period of mass arrests of  soldiers under accusation of espionage in favor of Armenia. On May 7, 2017 Captain S. Kazymov died from tortures at the military unit in Mingechaur city. The cause of his death was explained as car accident to his relatives. When his body was brought to his home village Amankend, military men refused to open the coffin and to show his body to his family. However, later his relatives were able to see his disfigured – in result of tortures- body. After this, Kazymov family referred with the case of his death to the military procurator’s office. Suleyman Kazymov’s wife was provided with official paper from military procurator’s office. It indicated that S. Kazymov was arrested under article 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. It also contained several other articles. It also stated that no evidence was found to prove the case, and on December 4, 2017 the criminal case was – on the basis of Article 39.2 (Grounded risk) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic closed.As we can see, the criminal case ended 6 months after the murder under torture  of Captain of Armed Force of Azerbaijan. When his brother Dadash Kazymov went to the military unit, he was openly told, that his brother’s kidneys were damaged in the result of brutal beatings; he was transferred to the hospital, where he died. The investigation of this case was leaded by the chief investigator for especially important cases of the Investigation Department of the Military Procurator’s office – major Hummat Mammadov      Captain Suleyman Kazimov has wife and daughter.

3 April 2020

The investigation of IPD revealed new facts

 It became known about three other militaries, who died after torture:

  1. Ensign Elhan Agazade was arrested  on May 1, 2017. The body of beaten to death Elhan Agazade was given  out on May 10, 2017.
  2. Lieutenant Elchin Mirzaliyev   was arrested  on May 7, 2017. The body of beaten to death  Elchin Mirzaliyev   was given  out on May 25, 2017.
  3. Ensign Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev  was arrested  on the morning May 16, 2017. The body of beaten to death Ruslan Odjaqverdiyev was given  out on the evening on May 16, 2017. 

 

According to information, gathered by IPD, from May 2017 to April 2020, the investigators of Military Procurator’s Office in Tartar region, in Azerbaijan, killed 10 citizens of AR, under tortures:

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