Failed to keep in a mental asylum, decided to put in prison


Aqil Humbatov

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

Baku Grave Crimes Court

Case № 1(101)-1736/2021

November 15, 2021

Presiding judge: Samir Aliyev

Judges: Javid Huseynov, Eldar Ismayilov

Defendant: Aqil Humbatov

Defenders: Neymat Karimli, Khagani Imanov

Victim: Yaman Mammadov

Public Prosecutor: Ergin Qafarov, a prosecutor of the Department of Public Prosecution Support in the Serious Crimes Courts of the Department of Public Prosecution Support within the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic

Aqil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Party of the Azerbaijan Republic (PFPA), an individual against whom the harshest and most unpredictable repressions have been ongoing for several years. A.Humbatov, unemployed, lived in the village of Zira near Baku, and had three dependent young children. He collected cardboard at the dumpsters and sold it in order to provide food for his children. Sometimes was engaged in rubbish collection. Humbatov has repeatedly criticised the country’s President on his personal Facebook page. In March 2020, on Facebook, Humbatov addressed to the President and strongly criticised him. He raised the issue of child benefits as he has three young children, one of whom is seriously ill, and as a father he is unable to pay for his child’s treatment. See:

Such an abrupt and critical statement of the unemployed father of a sick child was not forgiven by Ilham Aliyev. The police began to detain Aqil Humbatov. On March 14, 2019, he was arrested once again and held on administrative charges. His party associates believe that the pressure on A. Humbatov is due to his hardline criticism against the President. On March 30, 2020, Humbatov was again detained in the village of Mashtagha outside Baku, but this time his was placed in the Republican Psychiatric Hospital. On March 30, 2020, he was again detained in the village of Mashtagha in the Baku suburb but that time he was placed in the Republican Psychiatric Hospital. That day the Hospital’s chief doctor, Aghahasan Rasulov, filed an appeal with the Sabunchi District Court of Baku, requesting that Aqil Humbatov be forcibly placed in a psychiatric hospital.  The hospital chief justified his claim by saying that Aqil Humbatov, born in 1983, should be urgently admitted to the hospital on grounds of a letter dated March 30, 2020, received from the 1st department of the Khazar District Police Directorate.

On April 1, 2020, Samir Talybov, the Judge of the Baku Sabunchi District Court, having studied the case materials and heard the  participants’ testimonies, decided to reject the Hospital Medical Chief’s application, justifying it by the fact that the Court had not received any irrefutable evidence that Aqil Humbatov could be dangerous to  the society, that he could not manage his life by himself since they hadn’t discovered either any mental disorder or the presence of a severe mental illness. The Judge Samir Talybov took a lawful and justified decision in relation to Aqil Humbatov and … quit his job as a judge. See:

However, on April 3, 2020, the Chairman of the Civil Chamber of the Baku Court of Appeal, Mammad Mammadov, issued a different ruling on the case. The decision of the Baku Sabunchi District Court from April 1, 2020, was overturned and a new ruling was issued: Aqil Humbatov must be forcibly placed in the Republican Psychiatric Clinic, where he should be held for 3 months. See:

However, the Azerbaijani public, as well as the human rights organisation “Amnesty International”, launched a major campaign demanding that the practice of the USSR KGB of placing regime critics in psychiatric hospitals to be terminated. As a result, the Chief Medical Doctor of the Psychiatric Hospital, Aghahasan Rasulov, was forced to release Aqil Humbatov. See:

Yet, Aqil Humbatov, a father of three young children, has not been allowed to live at liberty in a long time.


The accusation

On the evening of August 11, 2021, Aqil Humbatov went out of his house and was detained by the officers of the Khazar District Police Department. He was charged with an offence under the Article 126.2.4 (Deliberate causing of serious harm to health, committed publicly dangers a way, from hooligan prompting) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.

According to the investigation, Aqil Humbatov stabbed a certain Yaman Mammadov in the abdomen, while he was removing rubbish in his yard at Mammadov’s request.

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

At the end of the preliminary investigation, the case was transferred to the Baku Serious Crimes Court.


Defendant’s testimonies:

The accused, Aqil Humbatov, interrogated during the trial, pleaded not guilty to the charge and testified his political views had caused him to believe that the incident in question was a planned game. He testified that he had been engaged in the collection and removal of rubbish from the Zirya settlement. On August 2, 2021, a certain Yaman Mammadov called and asked him to clean up the rubbish in the yard of his new house where he had recently moved in. Previously, Aqil Humbatov had twice been to Yaman’s house and cleaned up the rubbish, for which the latter had paid him 10 manats. That day Yaman told him that he had moved to a new house because of his work; he obtained Agil’s phone number from the residents of the settlement. Four or five days later, Yaman called once again to Aqil and asked him to come. Aqil found his call suspicious, so he refused to come citing a lack of time.

On August 11, 2021, Y. Mammadov called A. Humbatov again and asked him to clean up the rubbish. Humbatov agreed. When he arrived, Y. Mammadov was in the yard of his house. A. Humbatov collected the rubbish but there was still some on the ground. Y. Mammadov asked him to remove the rest as well. A. Humbatov did it and returned to finish his work. He left his motorbike outside the door to the courtyard of the house. A. Humbatov did not enter the house and waited for Yaman Mammadov. At this point, Y. Mammadov’s daughter-in-law and mother called him into the house and asked to remove the rest of the rubbish. He refused to enter since Y. Mammadov was not at home, and it was not appropriate to enter the house where there were two women.  Afterwards, the women returned home, and A. Humbatov then stayed waiting in the courtyard, near the door. At that point, an officer of the Khazar District Police Department by the name of Elkhan, with whom he was acquainted, was passing by. It was then that Aqil Humbatov realised that the game had been planned by the police and that they would capture him at any cost. He was not mistaken. Yaman Mammadov appeared soon afterwards and asked Aqil to finish cleaning up the yard, while he entered the house. Humbatov then heard a woman’s voice behind him. The woman handed him two bags asking to throw them away, on which A. Humbatov replied that he would do it as soon as he would have finished his work in the yard. The woman left the bags and walked away. Then Yaman appeared and started yelling at him: “Are you molesting my brother’s wife?”. First, A. Humbatov thought that Yaman was saying these words to someone else. However, when he turned around he realised that those words of Y.Mammadov were addressed to him. A. Humbatov was not sure but Yaman Mammadov confirmed that the words were addressed to him. He then realised that it was a game planned by the police and Yaman was actually playing their game. When he realised it, he tried to take his motorbike and leave. So, Yaman did not leave him alone and started fighting with him. At that time, Yaman’s mother was in the yard laughing. Thereafter, the police officers entered the yard through the fence door. As soon as Yaman saw the policemen, he released A. Humbatov, fell on the floor, took out a knife and started shouting that Humbatov had stabbed him. The policemen grabbed Aqil and, kicking and beating him, dragged Humbatov to the police car. When the policemen forced him into the car, he saw an ambulance outside the house. All that had all been planned in advance.

After Aqil Humbatov had been taken to the police, he was held there from 6pm to 9pm. The police then told him that he had allegedly stabbed Yaman Mammadov with a knife and they started beating him. The police officers had been beating him up until the morning of August 12, 2021. Afterwards, they took him to the investigator who also told him that he had stabbed Yaman Mammadov. Though A. Humbatov said that it had been a lie and he hadn’t stabbed Y. Mammadov, the officers kept beating him again and again. He asked for a presence of a lawyer but they declined his request. When A. Humbatov asked to inform his family about his detention, that request of his was rejected by the police as well.

Since he refused to confess, he was taken to the room of the Deputy Head of the Khazar District Police Department where they applied some blood with a syringe to his clothes. And he was beaten again. However, Aqil Humbatov again refused to provide the false testimony demanded from him. There were five police officers who told him that if he refused to testify he would be raped. Following such a threat, A. Humbatov testified against himself as requested by the police and signed the relevant documents. Then, A. Humbatov was taken to Yaman Mammadov’s house where he was subjected to videotaping. There, A. Humbatov said what he had been asked to say.  A bit later, he was taken to an expert examination where he stated that he had been tortured and made a confession under the torture. As soon as the police heard that, they threatened to beat him up again, after which he was forced to say that he had not been tortured. That’s why he did not say so either in the Prosecutor General’s Office or in the court when the preventive measure was imposed. At first A. Humbatov was afraid of being tortured again but when the fear subsided, he told the truth.


Victim’s testimonies:

The victim, Yaman Mammadov, testified that on August 11, 2021, he called Aqil Humbatov and summoned him to clean up the rubbish in his yard. The latter came and did it. Sometime later, Y. Mammadov went shopping to buy water, and when he came back he saw that A. Humbatov had been harassing his brother’s wife. So, they started to fight. A. Humbatov took out a knife and stabbed Y. Mammadov in the stomach. When Humbatov wanted to run away, Y. Mammadov’s mother shouted, “Where are you going after killing my son, you better help me”. After that, Aqil left his motorbike there and ran away. Mammadov’s mother then called the police at 102.


Witnesses’ testimonies:

In the course of the trial, Elmir Ibrahimov from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Khazar District Police Department was questioned as a witness; he testified that he together with his colleague Elkhan Rustamov had been in the settlement of Zirya in connection with the search for another person. They were dressed in civilian clothes. Suddenly, they spotted an agitated man walking along the road. They noticed what looked like blood stains on the man’s clothes. They stopped the man to find out what had happened. The man did not say anything, behaved aggressively and only swore. At that time, they received a radio call from the 102 service informing them of a stabbing incident. Suspecting the man in the incident, they brought him to the Khazar District Police Department. There, it turned out that the man was Aqil Humbatov.  While being interrogated, Aqil Humbatov confessed that he had stabbed Yaman Mammadov.

The police officer Elkhan Rustamov being questioned in the court confirmed the testimony of his colleague Elmir Ibrahimov.

Narmina Fataliyeva, the mother of Yaman Mammadov, who was interrogated as a witness at the trial, testified that on August 11, 2021, Aqil Humbatov had been cleaning rubbish in their courtyard. Then her son went out shopping to buy water, and when he came back she saw him and Aqil Humbatov fighting. When she went out into the yard, she saw that Aqil had stabbed her son who was lying on the ground. The knife was also nearby. She called the emergency and 102 services. Her son was taken to the hospital. According to her information, A. Humbatov said something obscene to her daughter-in-law, so a fight broke out between the men.

Interrogated as a witness in the court, the wife of Yaman’s brother testified that on August 11, 2021, Aqil Humbatov had been cleaning up the rubbish in their courtyard. When she went out into the yard to throw away the litter, Aqil asked her if she was Yaman’s spouse or sister-in-law and then asked for her phone number. Her brother-in-law, who came up at that moment, also heard it. A fight ensued between them and then A. Humbatov pulled out a knife and stabbed Y. Mammadov. According to her, the fight lasted about 10 minutes. Then A. Humbatov ran away. Her mother-in-law called the ambulance and the police service by dialing the number 102.


Some other evidences:   

According to a forensic medical examination conducted on September 2, 2021, a wound on Yaman Mammadov’s front abdomen had been inflicted with a stabbing and cutting object. The time of infliction correlated with August 11, 2021, and assumed to have been caused by another person.

However, a forensic medical examination conducted on August 17, 2021, found no injuries on Yaman Mammadov’s body.

A forensic dactyloscopic expertise from September 23, 2021, determined that the fingerprints on the knife submitted by the investigating agency for examination belonged to Aqil Humbatov.

The conclusion of the forensic psychiatric examination conducted on September 11, 2021, revealed that Aqil Humbatov had a paranoid personality disorder, a state of compensation. The expert also pointed out that Aqil Humbatov had not suffered from any mental disorder at the time of the crime. As Aqil Humbatov was in a compensatory (mentally stable) state at the time of the crime, he was aware of the actual nature of the act, its public danger and could control himself. The expertise found Aqil Humbatov to be sane. Thus, the expert indicated that there had been no need for compulsory medical treatment to be provided to A. Humbatov.


Assessment of the court

The court regarded Agil Humbatov’s testimony at the trial as defensive in nature, since his testimony was not in accordance with and contradicted the other evidence in the case.

In the course of the investigation, A. Humbatov first made a confession and then testified that he had been subjected to the physical abuse by officers of the Khazar District Police Department. For this reason, too, he confessed.

The Court stated that an investigation into the allegations of torture had been carried out by Vugar Islamzade, an investigator of the Khazar District Prosecutor’s Office. However, the statement made by A.Humbatov was not confirmed by the investigators and on September 16, 2021, it was decided not to initiate criminal proceedings in connection with the torture.

As mitigating circumstances, the Court took into account Aqil Humbatov’s three minor children. The Court did not find any aggravating circumstances in the criminal case.


The court verdict  

On November 15, 202, the Baku Court of Serious Crimes has issued a verdict against Aqil Humbatov:

  1. Humbatov was found guilty of committing a crime under the Article 126.2.4 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced him to 10-year-imprisonment to be served in a penal colony of general regime.


Commentary by expert lawyer:

The court verdict is unlawful and unjustified. According to the Article 12.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

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

Article 12 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution states:

  1. Ensuring the rights and liberties of a person and a citizen, decent living conditions for the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the highest objective of the State.

These norms are of a formal nature for the majority of law enforcement officers, however they are fundamental within the administration of the criminal justice system. They are a prerequisite ensuring the proper functioning of the judicial system.

We have referred to these norms due to the fact that the most basic and fundamental human rights principles have been violated in the criminal case commented upon.

According to the defendant’s testimony at the trial he had been subjected to physical pressure exerted by the police officers. The defendant attributed the initial defamatory statements he made as a result of physical pressure, of which he had been subjected in order to provide the evidence required by the investigators. It should be recalled that the defendant had been under the close supervision of the police officers throughout the investigation and it was they who were responsible for everything that happened to him at that stage.

Proving the physical pressure to which a detainee was subjected in the police custody is quite difficult, as he, as we know, was restricted in his right to liberty. The results of the forensic examination may, of course, also be inaccurate due to the fact that there is no alternative expertise available in the country. All forensic examinations are carried out by a single organization, the Judicial Expertise Centre. In addition, as a rule, the forensic examination of a defendant who claims to have been tortured is carried out some time later in order to make the traces on the body disappear. There are numerous examples when a defendant has experienced such problems, prior to his arrest he had no issues with his health, but after the arrest, even over a long period of time, he had injuries on his body, or even acquired a disability.

There are numerous reports concerning the torture inflicted by the law enforcement bodies at the local as well as reputable international human rights institutions, such as OMCT, Human Rights Watch, and others.

According to the Article 13.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic, during a criminal prosecution nobody shall:

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

The Court, citing the decision not to initiate criminal proceedings in relation to torture, did not provide the necessary legal assessment and logical explanation to the defendant’s testimony.

In fact, not a single allegation of torture supplied by a defendant has ever been properly investigated by the law enforcement authorities in Azerbaijan. There have been known reports provided by the defendants of severe beatings, photos taken and distributed on the Internet (the case of Yunis Safarov and others). However, despite that, the law enforcement authorities remained silent, and if they did comment, their explanations were usually utterly illogical and foolish (for example, the accused inflicted the injuries by himself or received them as a result of escaping upon his detention).

In view of the above, we have no reason to distrust the defendant’s testimony, who has described the conduct of the police officers in great detail. According to the Article 15.2.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

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.

The Article 125.2.2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states,

Information, documents and other items shall not be accepted as evidence in a

criminal case if they are obtained through the use of violence, threats, deceit, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts.

Torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are also prohibited by the Norms of International Law. Thus, according to the Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The prohibition of torture is also set out in the Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in addition to the European Convention.

As can be seen, all the above mentioned norms have no exceptions. It means that nothing can justify the use of torture, including wars, emergencies, the fight against terrorism, the Mafia, and so on.

In the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Ilhan v. Turkey of June, 27, 2000 it is stated:

Article 3, however, is phrased in substantive terms. Furthermore, although the victim of an alleged breach of this provision may be in a vulnerable position, the practical exigencies of the situation will often differ from cases of use of lethal force or suspicious deaths. The Court considers that the requirement under Article 13 of the Convention that a person with an arguable claim of a violation of Article 3 be provided with an effective remedy will generally provide both redress to the applicant and the necessary procedural safeguards against abuses by State officials. The Court’s case-law establishes that the notion of effective remedy in this context includes the duty to carry out a thorough and effective investigation capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible for any ill-treatment and permitting effective access for the complainant to the investigatory procedure. Whether it is appropriate or necessary to find a procedural breach of Article 3 will therefore depend on the circumstances of the particular case.{“fulltext”:[“\”CASE%20OF%20ILHAN%20v.%20TURKEY\””],”documentcollectionid2″:[“GRANDCHAMBER”,”CHAMBER”],”itemid”:[“001-58734”]}

As mentioned above, and as the defendant testified at the trial, he was forced to testify against himself under the torture in the course of the investigation. According to the Article 66 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution,

Nobody may be forced to testify against him/herself, wife (husband), children, parents, brother, sister. Complete list of relations against whom testifying is not obligatory is specified by law.

The Article 20.1 of the of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states,

Nobody may be forced to testify against himself or his close relatives, or be prosecuted on this basis.

Whilst the text of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 6 (1), is not specifically stated as such, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights has enshrined the right of the accused to keep silent.

In the judgment of the ECHR in the case of John Murray v. the United Kingdom of February, 8, 1996 it is stated:

Although not specifically mentioned in Article 6 of the Convention, there can be no doubt that the right to remain silent under police questioning and the privilege against self-incrimination are generally recognised international standards which lie at the heart of the notion of a fair procedure under Article 6. … By providing the accused with protection against improper compulsion by the authorities these immunities contribute to avoiding miscarriages of justice and to securing the aims of Article 6.{“fulltext”:[“john%20murray%20v.”],”documentcollectionid2″:[“GRANDCHAMBER”,”CHAMBER”],”itemid”:[“001-57980”]}

Furthermore, it is not permissible to find a defendant guilty even if there is a reasonable suspicion that he or she may be guilty. According to the Article 21.2 of the of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic,

The accused (the suspect) shall receive the benefit of any doubts which cannot be removed in the process of proving the charge in accordance with the provisions of this Code, within the appropriate legal proceedings. He shall likewise receive the benefit of any doubts which are not removed in the application of criminal law and criminal procedure legislation.

The Article 21.3 of the of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states,

The accused shall not be obliged to prove his innocence. It shall be for the prosecution to prove the charge or to refute the evidence given in defence of the suspect or the accused.

At the trial, the defendant revealed that he had requested the presence of a lawyer following his arrest, but had been denied it. This is a very important point in the prosecution. Everyone’s right to legal assistance is enshrined under the Article 61 of the Azerbaijani Constitution:

  1. Everyone has the right for obtaining qualified legal advice.

III. Every citizen has the right for the lawyer’s advice from the moment of detention, arrest or accusation with crime by competent state bodies.

The Article 19.4-19.4.4 of the of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic states, that the prosecuting authority shall secure the following rights of the suspect or accused:

  • to have the assistance of the counsel for the defence from the moment of detention or arrest, as the suspect before the first interrogation or as the accused as soon as charges have been laid;
  • to explain his rights;
  • to give him adequate time and opportunity to prepare his defence;
  • to be able to defend himself in person or with the aid of counsel for the defence chosen by him or, if unable to pay for defence counsel, to receive free legal aid.

The Article 6 (3) of the European Convention on Human Rights states, that everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if

he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when

the interests of justice so require.

In the judgment of the ECHR in the case of Padin Gestoso v. Spain it is stated:

“The opportunities” to be afforded to any defendant should include the possibility to become familiar with the result of the expert examinations carried out during the trial in order to be prepared for the defence. Yet, it is clear that the opportunities to be provided to the defendant are limited to those which contribute or can contribute to the preparation of the defence”.{“fulltext”:[“Padin%20Gestoso%20v.%20spain”],”documentcollectionid2″:[“GRANDCHAMBER”,”CHAMBER”,”DECISIONS”],”itemid”:[“001-5623”]}

Failure to recognise the right to defence results in a denial of everyone’s right to justice, which, particularly in criminal cases, must first and foremost be fair.

In the judgment of the ECHR in the case of Artico v. Italy from May 13, 1980 it is stated:

«The Convention is intended to guarantee not rights that are theoretical or illusory but rights that are practical and effective; this is particularly so of the rights of the defence in view of the prominent place held in a democratic society by the right to a fair trial, from which they derive».{“fulltext”:[“artico%20v.”],”documentcollectionid2″:[“GRANDCHAMBER”,”CHAMBER”,”DECISIONS”],”itemid”:[“001-57424”]}

At the trial, the defendant claimed that he had not been given the opportunity to inform his family of his detention. This is a gross violation of the criminal procedure law. The Article 90.7.6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic enumerates the rights of a suspect, one of which is to immediately inform their close relatives or other persons with whom he has a legitimate interest about the detention and the place of detention by telephone or other means.

When considering the evidence in the case, these are:

  • The defendant’s testimony;
  • The witnesses’ statements;
  • The victim’s testimony;
  • The results of forensic examinations;
  • Various characteristics.

With regard to the defendant’s testimony, the Court found that the defendant’s testimony was defensive in nature and could not be accepted as irrefutable. Everything was very much clear with regard to the testimony of the victim. However, the witnesses’ testimonies are quite interesting. Who are the witnesses in the case? Two police officers, the victim’s mother and her daughter-in-law, i.e.  the persons interested in the outcome of the case. The Court should have doubted the testimony of those individuals and regarded them with suspicion. However, the Court considered them to be irrefutable and relied on them in passing the sentence.

Regarding the expert examinations, we have already mentioned that above. Furthermore, the results of the expert examinations are not mandatory either for the investigation or the Court. However, the Court accepted them as irrefutable as well.

It should be pointed out here that not a single piece of evidence, conclusion or argument of the defence was examined by the Court. The Court did not legally examine them and did not refer to them in the judgment.

Thus, the prosecution evidences had not been sufficient for the Court in order to impose a custodial sentence for a period of 10 years.

Despite the fact that the Court indicated that the accused had three minor children, the sentence was not affected in any way with this factor. The Article 126.2.4 of the Azerbaijan Republic Criminal Code provides for a maximum sentence of imprisonment for the period of 11 years. The Court sentenced A. Humbatov to 10 years. There is no justification in the Court verdict for such a harsh, almost maximal term of punishment. The Court’s partiality, its one-sided investigation, lack of initiative in full, objective and comprehensive analysis of the case, and lack of the principle of humanism and individual approach are obvious in this case.

All of the above demonstrates a gross violation of Aqil Humbatov’s fundamental rights, such as the right to liberty, the right to presumption of innocence, the right to silence, the right to qualified legal assistance, the right to a fair trial and most importantly, the right not to be subjected inhuman and degrading treatment and torture.