The trial of 7 persons involved in the so-called “Terter case”

The trial against seven individuals in the so-called “Terter case”

One of the most top-secret and bloody crimes of the Aliyev regime

 

Analysis of violation of law during “Terter case” judicial proceedings

Terter Military Court

Case №1 (098)-146/2018

9 July 2018

Presiding judge: Ilqar Guliyev                      

Judges: Ahmad Sariyev, Vidadi Nasirov 

Public Prosecutors: Natiq Abdullayev, Bulud Bayaliyev, Nijat Huseynli 

Defendants: Natiq Quluzade, Nijat Rzayev, Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov,  Emin Aibov, Yalchin Tarverdizade, Orkhan Babayev

Defenders:  Yusif Seyidov, Vahid Quliyev, Faiq Nagiyev, Islam Teymurov, Mushfiq Mehdiyev, Rasul Yusifbeyli, Seymur Zeynalov

Victims: Amrah Azizli, Shamsaddin Bagishev, Asiman Ramazanov, Djalil Mammadov, Ramesh Rahmanov, Rashid Rashidzade

Victims’ representative: Teymur Mammadov

 

Natiq Quluzade, a military serviceman, born in 1993, a native of Terter district of the Azerbaijan Republic, was accused of committing crimes under the Articles of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic (CC AR):

  • 134 (Threat to murder or causing of serious harm to health),
  • 2.1 (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, with application of violence or with threat thereof against the victim, committed by a group of persons, by a group with a premeditated conspiracy or by an organized group),
  • 2.4 (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, with application of violence or with threat thereof against the victim, carried out with a particular cruelty against the victim (male, female) or against other individuals),
  • 2.5 (Buggery or other actions of sexual nature, with application of violence or with threat thereof against the victim, committed repeatedly),
  • 274 (High treason),
  • 3 (Resistance to a chief, as well as to other person, implementing duties of military service assigned to him, or his compulsion to infringement of these duties, connected with violence or with threat of its application, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
  • 3 (Causing easy harm to health of the chief or causing to him injuries in connection with execution of duties by him on military service, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
  • 2 (The insult by chief of subordinate, as well as by subordinate of chief during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military service),
  • 3 (Causing injuries or tortures by chief of subordinate during performance or in connection with performance of duties on military services),
  • 1 (Infringement of authorized rules of mutual relation between military men at absence between them of subordination relations, connected with humiliation of honor and advantage of victim or with application of violence against him, entailed to heavy consequences),
  • 1 (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state),
  • 2 (Infringement of rules on implementing fighting watch (fighting service) on duly detection and reflection of sudden attack on the Azerbaijan Republic or maintenance of its safety if this act could harm interests of safety of the state, harmed interests of state safety or has entailed to other heavy consequences),
  • 3 (Abusing by chief or official of authority or service position, excess of authority or service powers, deliberate inactivity of authority, if these acts were made regularly or from mercenary prompting or other personal interest, as well as caused essential harm, committed in wartime or fighting conditions),
  • 2.1 (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed repeatedly),
  • 2.4 (Deliberate destruction or damage of a weapon, supplies, military engineering or other military property, at absence of attributes of other crime, committed in wartime or in fighting conditions) of the CC AR.

Nijat Rzayev, a military serviceman, born in 1992, a native of the Gazakh district of the Azerbaijan Republic, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 331.2, 331.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the CC AR.

Zaur Abdullaev, a military serviceman, born in 1988, a native of the Ganja City, was accused of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the CC AR.

Vali Khalilov, a military serviceman, born in 1987, a native of the Mingachevir City, was accused of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the CC AR.

Emin Aibov, a military serviceman, born in 1987, a native of the Baku City, was accused of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3  of the CC AR.

Yalchin Tarverdizade, a military serviceman, born in 1997, a native of the Lankaran City, was accused of committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3 of the CC AR.

Orkhan Babayev, a military serviceman, born in 1997, a native of the Bilasuvar district of the Azerbaijan Republic, was charged with committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.1, 338.2 and 341.3   of the CC AR.

 

Natiq Quluzade

Natiq Quluzade, a junior sergeant, the commander of the 9th branch of the 3rd platoon of the 3rd battalion of the military unit No. 703, was sentenced to 4-month arrest by the Terter Military Court on 22 August 2017.

According to the investigation, Natiq Quluzade, while threatening to kill or injure the victims, colluded with other defendants and, having used particular cruelty and helplessness against the victims, committed sexual violence against them. As a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic, he adversed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, deliberately defected to the enemy and betrayed the homeland, transferred secret information to citizens of foreign State, and also carried out activities against the Azerbaijan Republic in favour of the enemy State.

  1. Quluzade, having gone to the territory occupied by the Armenian armed forces, the Tartar district of the Azerbaijan Republic, together with the Armenian militaries, filmed the sexual violence committed by the Armenian militaries against the militaries of the Azerbaijan Republic and threatened them with distribution of these videos on the Internet resources. With a view to weakening the positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces, N. Quluzade provided the enemy with information on the combat positions, means of communication, trenches advantageous for military operations, the location of the combat positions of Azerbaijani military units, which are accessible to Armenian armed groups, as well as the quantitative composition, profiling and other data of military personnel, the number of weapons and ammunition and the exact coordinates of military strategic objects.

According to the investigation, in December 2016, Natiq Quluzade became involved in a criminal conspiracy with the Ensign Nijat Rzayev, in January 2017 with the soldier Yalchin Tarverdizade, and in February 2017 with the junior Sergeant Emin Aibov. In January 2017, Natiq Quluzade, with the help of N. Rzayev, recruited the Sergeant Zaur Abdullayev to secretly cooperate in favor of the enemy; in March 2017, with the help of Zaur Abdullayev they made involvement of the Private Vali Khalilov in spying activities, and, in April 2017, the Ensign Orhan Babayev joined their group with the help of Vali Khalilov. All servicemen who committed treachery (Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov and Orkhan Babayev) were previously sexually assaulted and then gave their consent to help the enemy.

On 22 August 2017, Natiq Quluzade was arrested. He was charged with the first offence under the Article 274 of the AR Criminal Code. He did not plead guilty during the interrogation at the time of the investigation. He did not plead guilty at he trial either. He testified that he had not committed any crimes and , at the beginning of May 2017, was beaten by unknown military personnel and also by law enforcement officers, who tortured him and inflicted bodily injuries. In the course of the trial, N. Quluzade revealed that he had been forced to testify against himself because of torture.

On 10 October 2017, a complex forensic psychiatric examination was carried out in regard to Natiq Quluzade, and it was determined that N. Quluzade had not suffered from any psychiatric diseases and at the time of the crime he had kept his sanity.

On 31 October 2017, a forensic medical examination was carried out with regard to N. Quluzade, as a result of which there were no visible injuries on his body. On 4 June 2018, a forensic medical examination was carried out with regard to N. Quluzade. The results of the forensic examination found morphological features on the right and left side of his chest, also on the left and lower side of the right thigh, however, the nature, origin and time of the occurrence could not be determined.

The military command of the Unit No. 703 has provided a negative reference to N. Quluzade.

On 2 March 2018, in the course of the investigation N. Quluzade filed a petition that in January 2017 he had not been at the same post as Yalchin Tarverdizade who, in his turn, testified against him. He also confirmed that fact in the course of the trial.

The court stated in its verdict that the use of torture and physical violence against N. Quluzade had not been confirmed by any evidence; this testimony was of a defence nature and considered by the court as an attempt to elude criminal responsibility. Natiq Quluzade admitted during the court hearing that he had only been guilty of crimes under the Articles 349.2.1 and 349.2.4 of the AR Criminal Code.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Natiq Quluzade.

 

Nijat Rzayev

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated 19 May 2017, Nijat Rzayev, the Ensign, was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

During pre-trial investigation Nijat Rzayev testified that within 9 months after the end of his military service, he was appointed as deputy commander of the 9th branch of 3rd platoon of 3rd battalion of military Unit 703 starting from 24 October 2012. Natiq Quluzade acquainted with him during his service but Rzayev did not have any problems with him.

According to Nijat Rzayev, during his service in December 2016, N. Quluzade together with soldiers came to the combat post of Nijat Rzayev in order to clean the trenches. Then, after having left the soldiers there, Natiq Quluzade went away and did not return to this post. When the unarmed Nijat Rzayev found N. Quluzade, the latter was armed. After having a conversation with him, Natiq Quluzade offered Nijat Rzayev to inspect the trench completely. N. Rzayev went ahead, N. Quluzade was behind him. When Nijat Rzayev reached the very end of the trench, Natiq Quluzade aimed an AK-74 assault rifle at his back. At that time, two Armenian soldiers approached them. When N. Rzayev asked N. Quluzade what had been going on, Quluzade did not answer him. The Armenian soldiers threw Nijat Rzayev to the ground and caused him bodily injuries. Then one of the soldiers grabbed N. Rzayev by the head, and the second one committed violent sexual acts against Rzayev. Natiq Quluzade filmed everything on his phone camera. After that, the Armenian soldiers withdrew. And N. Quluzade threatened N. Rzayev that if someone found out about that incident, the video would be distributed on the Internet resources. Being frightened, N. Rzayev agreed with Natiq Quluzade.

Nijat Rzayev also testified at the investigation that Natiq Quluzade disclosed to him how he had surrendered Zaur Abdullayev to enemies in January 2017. On 11 January 2017, Zaur Abdullayev was at a combat post, N. Quluzade approached him and gave a sign to the Armenian military. Zaur Abdullayev did not see it, and he was unarmed.  20 minutes later, two Armenian soldiers approached them, one grabbed Zaur Abdullayev by the hands and the other held his head. When the Armenian soldier was committing sexual acts against Z. Abdullayev, N. Quluzade was recording all this on his phone video camera.

Natiq Quluzade threatened Zaur Abdullayev that in case anyone found out about it, the video would be distributed on the Internet resources. After that Zaur Abdullayev did not return to his post. There is no information about Zaur Abdullayev’s further cooperation with the Armenian military. Natiq Quluzade received an award from Armenians in the amount of 200 manats.

During the trial, Nijat Rzayev pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied all evidence previously provided by him at the period of investigation. At the trial, he stated that he had neither cooperated with the Armenian military nor been subjected to sexual assault.  He also confirmed that he had acquainted with Natiq Quluzade, Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov, Orhan Babayev, Emin Aibov and Yalchin Tarverdizade but had no knowledge concerning their secret cooperation with the Armenian military.

 

Nijat Rzayev testified that during the preliminary investigation he had made false statements under the influence of torture.

In his testimony at the trial, Nijat Rzayev pointed out that he had repeatedly counteracted the Armenian military attacks while serving. Fighting the enemy attack from a combat post, where Nijat Rzayev served on the territory called Torpagtepe of Terter district in winter months of 2015, the Armenian soldiers had been repulsed.

He also indicated that N. Quluzade hadn’t approached the combat post in December 2016, where Nijat Rzayev had been on duty, and he denied his exposure to sexual assault. Furthermore, Nijat Rzayev said at the trial that Natiq Quluzade had neither handed over Zaur Abdullayev to the enemy, nor arranged Z. Abdulayev’s sexual assault.

Concerning the victim Amrah Azizli, Nijat Rzayev testified at the trial that he had never beaten or insulted him, he just scolded A. Azizli for his rude response to Orhan Babayev. N. Rzayev emphasized that he had never handed anyone over to his enemies and had never cooperated with the enemies.

At the trial, Nijat Rzayev also said that during the investigation he had been subjected to beatings and torture by the law enforcement officers. However, the court considered that statement had not been confirmed by any irrefutable evidence and had a defamatory character.

On 18 May and 23 June 2017, in the course of forensic examinations performed with regard to Nijat Rzayev, it had been recorded the existence of sexual violence traces on his body.

On 10 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that N. Rzayev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 4 June 2018, it was carried out an additional forensic examination in respect of Nijat Rzayev, where it was detected visible scars on the back of the right hand, on the back of both thighs around 40 pigmented areas, and on the back side of the fifth finger of his left hand. There were bruises and scars on these pigmented areas, which were caused by blunt force object. The approximate time of the strike was  determined to be 2-3 months ago (23 June 2017). (So, the time period of strikes coincides with the time of the Nijat Rzayev’s arrest on May 19, 2017 – note by the Institute for Peace and Democracy).

However, the experts indicated that the term “torture” had not been a medical term, so in theory it was not possible to assess injuries.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Nijat Rzayev.

Nijat Rzayev is the 2nd group disabled and has two young depended children.

 

Zaur Abdullayev

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated May 17, 2017, Zaur Abdullayev was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

According to the investigation version, in January 2017, a member of the criminal group, Nijat Rzayev engaged Sergeant Zaur Abdullayev to secretly cooperate with the Armenian military. N. Rzayev deceptively lured Zaur Abdullayev to a combat post. At that moment two Armenian soldiers attacked Z. Abdullayev, tied his hands and mouth, struck him in the back and legs and broke his resistance. After that, in order to achieve unconditional further cooperation, the Armenian soldiers committed sexual assault on Z. Abdullayev.

Then the Armenian soldiers confiscated Nijat Rzayev’s encrypted list and returned to their positions. N. Rzayev suggested Z. Abdullayev to cooperate with Armenian militaries, otherwise threatening to kill his family in case of refusal. Following this threat, Z. Abdullayev has started cooperating with the Armenian military letting the enemies free entry and exit. Additionally, N. Rzayev instructed Z. Abdullayev to fraudulently extradite Veli Khalilov to Armenian soldiers. Zaur Abdullayev fulfilled the order of N. Rzayev and involved Vali Khalilov in secret cooperation with the Armenian military, threatening to kill his family in case of refusal.

During the trial, Zaur Abdullayev pleaded not guilty to the charges. He testified that he had served in the military unit No. 161 from 5 October 2006 to 1 April 2008. On 15 April 15 2008, he was called up for extended military service on the basis of his own application. On 16 December 2016, he was appointed commander of the 2nd platoon of the 3rd battalion of the military unit No. 703. At the trial, he testified that Nijat Rzayev hadn’t surrendered him to Armenian military in January 2017, and he hadn’t been subjected to sexually assault by Armenian soldiers. Zaur Abdullayev also pointed out that he hadn’t given any orders to Vali Khalilov to surrender the soldier Asiman Ramazanov to Armenian soldiers, and, Vali Khalilov along with the soldiers Shamsaddin Bagishev and Ramesh Rahmanov hadn’t leave their post to the Armenian enemies on 27 March 2017.

At the trial Zaur Abdullayev testified that he had not organized sexual violence against the soldiers by the Armenian militaries, and he had no information that Vali Khalilov had handed over the soldier Shamsaddin Bagishev to two Armenian militaries in order to commit sexual acts against him in April 2017. And he certainly did not give Vali Khalilov such an instruction. Z. Abdullayev also indicated that he had not had any information about the fact that on 28 April 2017, Vali Khalilov together with Orkhan Babayev had been passing secret information to the enemy soldiers.

On 31 October 2017, a forensic medical examination conducted with regard to Zaur Abdullayev and determined that there had been no injuries, including signs of sexual assault, on his body. Nevertheless, for some reason, the physicians stated, in their report, that single sexual acts would not leave any traces.

On 4 June 2018, a commission of forensic medical examination performed in respect of Z. Abdullayev, reported the following information:  there are two pigment spots on his right hand and the 6th, 7th and 8th teeth on the right side of his lower jaw are missing. The nature, cause, time and origin of the injuries and missing teeth could not be determined.

  1. Abdullayev admitted during the investigation, but at the trial he did not plead guilty to the charges, that he had not committed any crime, but in early May 2017 he had been beaten and tortured by the officers of the law enforcement agencies, and as a result of the beatings the traces of injuries on his body had been found. He indicated that he had been forced to provide testimony under the pressure of torture. However, the court stated that Zaur Abdullayev’s testimony concerning his torture had not been supported by any other relevant evidence.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Zaur Abdullayev.

 

Vali Khalilov

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated 16 May 2017, Vali Khalilov was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

According to the investigation version, in March 2017, Zaur Abdullayev deceptively lured unarmed Vali Khalilov, to a combat post.  In 5-10 minutes later, Z. Abdullayev after having given a sign to the enemies, four Armenian soldiers arrived at the post. Z. Abdullayev threatened V. Khalilov, saying him that he handed over his family’s profile data to the Armenian military, who could kill everyone. Having been afraid of those threats and also having been sexually abused by the Armenian soldiers, Vali Khalilov agreed to cooperate with the enemy. He agreed to facilitate the unhindered entry and exit for the Armenian military to combat positions and create favorable conditions for Armenian soldiers to collect secret data.

On 23 March 2017, Vali Khalilov deceptively exploited the soldier Asiman Ramazanov and handed him over to three Armenian soldiers, one of whom committed sexual assault on A. Ramazanov.

There is the following information stated in the investigation materials: on 27 March 2017, Zaur Abdullayev and Vali Khalilov, having deceived soldiers Shamsaddin Bagishev and Ramesh Rahmanov, led them to the right side of the combat post. Zaur Abdullayev and Vali Khalilov, armed with the machine guns pointing at the soldiers Sh. Bagishev and R. Rahmanov forced them to go to the neutral zone. There, Z. Abdullayev and V. Khalilov surrendered the soldiers to the Armenian military who, in his turn, committed sexual assaults against Sh. Bagishev and R. Rahmanov.

Zaur Abdullayev and Vali Khalilov arranged the transfer of secret information to the Armenian soldiers. They transmitted information about the combat positions, communication routes, trenches, heights beneficial for the military operations, and information about the territory and location of the Azerbaijani military units’ combat positions convenient for opening fire on the Armenian armed formations. They provided important information on the number of troops, profiles and other data on combat personnel, the number of weapons and ammunition, and the exact coordinates of the military strategic objects.

There is also an information concerning the fact that in April 2017, Vali Khalilov fraudulently handed over Orhan Babayev, Djalil Mammadov and Amrah Azizli to Armenian soldiers, in the investigation reports.

Vali Khalilov has changed his testimony a number of times. During the investigation, he admitted his crime. But at the beginning of the trial, Vali Khalilov made a statement that he had confessed under the torture during the investigation, which resulted in injuries to his legs, arms and body and a rupture of his left ear membrane.

Later, during the trial, V. Khalilov changed his testimony and claimed that the injuries he had mentioned earlier appeared between March and April 2017, when he was at the combat posts.

On 23 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that V. Khalilov hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 31 October 2017, a forensic medical examination was carried out with regard to Vali Khalilov, as a result of which there were no visible injuries on his body. The forensics found no sign of sexual assault either. However, for some reason, the medical experts indicated in their report that single sexual intercourse leaves no traces.

The forensic medical examination dated 1 November 2017, and the forensic drug examination dated 22 November 2017, determined that V. Khalilov neither had suffered from drug addiction nor had had HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases.

On 4 June 2018, there was conducted a commission of forensic medical examination . The examination found the pigmented areas on the right side of the chest in its upper and lower parts, but it was not possible to determine their nature, origin, cause and time of the occurrence. The examination also indicated that Vali Khalilov had not had any injuries on his ear, and his poor hearing was due to contamination. After the removal of the contamination, the hearing was fully regained

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Vali Khalilov.

Vali Khalilov has a minor dependent daughter.

 

Emin Aibov

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated 19 May 2017, Emin Aibov was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

According to the investigation version, in February 2017, Natiq Quluzade engaged Emin Aibov in secret cooperation with the Armenian military making E. Aibov dependent on them. Being in a difficult financial situation Emin Aibov, N. Quluzade allegedly lent him 200 AZN. After that they met at the combat post and E. Aibov thanked Natiq Quluzade for his help. With the aim to evoke interest in Aibov, Quluzade told him that in case of financial difficulties he could appeal to him.  Emin Aibov answered that he was ready to do any work in order to get paid.  Emin Aibov asked N. Quluzade how he could manage to find money, and N. Quluzade replied that he would receive the money from the Armenian military in return for passing them ammunition and as well the Azerbaijani soldiers.

In March 2017. N. Quluzade shared with Emin Aibov that he would like to pass a soldier by the name Rashid Rashidzade to the Armenian military, for which he would be paid 500 AZN. Quluzade also said that along with Rashid Rashidzade they should also send the soldier Yalchin Tarverdizade. Emin Aibov did everything as planned by N. Quluzade. On 4 April 2017, E. Aibov prepared the military personnel for the shift at the combat post, then received the guns from those soldiers who had just left the post and went in the direction mentioned by Natiq Quluzade. Armenian soldiers have been already waiting for him there. One of them came up to E. Aibov, twisted his hands, and the other subjected him to a violent sexual act. All this happened in front of Natiq Quluzade. When the Armenian soldiers left, N. Quluzade told E. Aibov that the sexual act was a condition of secret cooperation. After that Natiq Quluzade gave another 100 manat to Emin Aibov and forgave him his old debt of 200 AZN.

Natiq Quluzade told Emin Aibov about the planned surrender of soldiers Azad Karimov, Ulvi Ganbarli and Zakariya Huseynzade to Armenians. E. Aibov agreed with the plan. N. Quluzade informed E. Aibov that the plan should be implemented on 26 May 2017. However, he was not able to commit this crime because the persons recruited by Armenians had been discovered by that time.

At the trial, Emin Aibov did not plead guilty to the charges and testified that he had known Natiq Quluzade since April 2016 and they had had only professional relations. Also, he testified that he hadn’t had any information about secret cooperation of Nijat Rzayev, Orkhan Babayev, Zaur Abdullayev, Natiq Quluzade, Vali Khalilov and Yalchin Tarverdizade with the Armenian military. He also said that no one ever surrendered him to the Armenian military, and he did not cooperate with them. He had never asked N. Quluzade to lend him money, he had never organized the surrender of Azerbaijani soldiers to the Armenian military, he had never been sexually abused by the Armenian soldiers, and he had never been in charge of a combat post.

On 23 June 2017, a forensic medical examination was carried out with regard to Emin Aibov, as a result of which there were no visible injuries on his body. The forensics found no sign of sexual assault either. However, for some reason, the medical experts indicated in their report that single sexual intercourse leaves no traces.

On 10 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that E. Aibov hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

The forensic drug examination of 18 October 2017, and the forensic medical examination of 1 November 2017, showed that E. Aibov neither suffered from drug addiction nor had HIV infection or any other sexually transmitted diseases.

On 4 June 2018, an additional forensic medical examination was conducted, which detected the numerous scars and bruises on E. Aibov’s body. It was noted that the scars and bruises were a consequence of blunt force trauma. The time of striking was about 2-3 months prior to the examination. The doctors indicated in their report that, since the concept of “torture” was not within the mandate of a forensic medical examination, the matter could only be determined by the investigating authorities.

During the preliminary and the legal investigation, Emin Aibov stated that he had been beaten by unknown soldiers in early May 2017, and as a result of that beating, he suffered from injuries on his body. He also testified before the court that he had been forced to make an initial confession due to the torture he had been subjected to. The court regarded his testimony as a self-protective one.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Emin Aibov.

Emin Aibov has a depended wife, mother and father, who do not work anywhere, as well as three young daughters.

 

Yalchin Tarverdizade

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated 19 May 2017, Yalchin Tarverdizade, was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

According to the investigation version, Yalchin Tarverdizade was attacked by Natiq Quluzade in January 2017, while he was at a combat post. The latter hit Yalchin Tarverdizade in the neck with a machine gun and pushed him down to the ground. At that moment two Armenian soldiers approached them and attacked Yalchin Tarverdizade. In order to make Tarverdizade keep silence, N. Quluzade put his hand over Yalchin Tarverdizade’s mouth. Armenian soldiers committed sexual assault against Yalchin Tarverdizade, and then returned to their positions.

Natiq Quluzade also blackmailed Yalchin Tarverdizade by the fact that his family’s profile was given to the Armenian military and Quluzade threatened to kill his family members, thereby finally breaking Tarverdizade’s resistance. Yalchin Tarverdizade was to organize the collection of secret information and its transmission to the Armenian military, moreover he had to ensure their unhindered entry and exit to the combat positions.

Yalchin Tarverdizade was also instructed to surrender Rashad Rashidzade, an Azerbaijani soldier, to the Armenian army.

The investigation documents also stated that the soldiers Rashad Rashidzade and Zakariya Huseynzade spotted unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia at the end of January 2017. They intended to shoot it down, but Yalchin Tarverdizade, threatening them with weapons, forbade them to do it. Moreover, he did not inform the command about it.

But Yalchin Tarverdizade was hesitant to extradite Rashad Rashidzade, a soldier, to the Armenians to commit sexual violence against him. Since he did not accomplished an assigned mission, he was punished by Natiq Quluzade in March 2017, and with the help of Emin Aibov he was handed over to the Armenian military for the second time to commit sexual violence against him.

After that, Emin Aibov demanded that Yalchin Tarverdizade to unconditionally cooperate with the Armenian military. In case of his refusal, E. Aibov threatened to kill Yalchin Tarverdizade’s family members. After that, Yalchin Tarverdizade promised to do whatever would be required to. At the same time, in March 2017, N. Quluzade instructed E. Aibov to extradite Armenian soldier Rashid Rashidzade with the help of Tarverdizade, as it was said in the investigation version.

At the beginning of the trial, Y. Tarverdizade showed that he had made a confession at the investigation due to the torture he had been subjected to. The torture left traces on his body. However, at subsequent trials, Y. Tarverdizade unexpectedly retracted that testimony, and pleaded guilty to the charges saying that the scars on his body were related to his military service.

On 10 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that Y. Tarverdizade hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 1 November 2017, a forensic medical examination conducted with regard to Y. Tarverdizade, determined that he did not have HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases.

On 18 May 2018, in the course of forensic examinations performed with regard to Y. Tarverdizade, it did not been recorded the existence of sexual violence traces on his body. The examination also confirmed that he had been sexually assaulted on numerous occasions.

On 4 June 2018, it was conducted a forensic medical examination. The results of this examination showed numerous bruises in the lower limbs, though the nature, time and origin of which had not been determined.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Yalchin Tarverdizade.

Yalchin Tarverdizade suffers from a number of diseases: hypertrophy of the left ventricle, ischemia of the posterior heart wall, arterial hypertension. He is registered as an outpatient. Positively characterized at the workplace. He has 5 dependent family members: his father, mother, and brother, as well as his sister-in-law, and a niece. None of the family members are working.

 

Orhan Babayev

By the decision of the Terter Military Court dated 31 August 2017, Orhan Babayev was sentenced to 4 -month of imprisonment.

According to the investigation version, in April 2017, Orhan Babayev was engaged by Vali Khalilov in cooperation with Armenians. Having previously conspired with Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov fraudulently lured Orhan Babayev to a combat post. There, he handed him over to four Armenian soldiers who had sexually assaulted him.

Then Vali Khalilov told him that there were recorded videos of the Armenian military’s sexual acts against him, and if he refused to cooperate with the Armenians or notified anyone of what had happened, the video would be posted on the Internet resources and his family members would be killed.

Thus, according to the investigation, Orhan Babayev agreed to cooperation with Armenians. Within the cooperation framework with the Armenian military, Orhan Babayev passed them the confidential information. And on 25 April 2017, he along with Vali Khalilov handed over Azerbaijani soldiers to the Armenian military to commit sexual assaults against them. Having deceived the soldier Amrah Azizli, O. Babayev led him to the place where three Armenian soldiers had been waiting for them. He handed A. Azizli over to the Armenian soldiers, who first beat him up and then raped.

The same was done to a soldier, Djalil Mammadov, who had also been raped by the Armenian soldiers and forced to cooperate, having threatened to kill his family members.

According to the investigation version, on 28 April 2017, Vali Khalilov and Orhan Babayev with the help of Zaur Abdullayev brought four Armenian military men to a combat post, where they handed them all the confidential information concerning the Azerbaijani units’ dispositions: the combat locations, trenches, quantitative composition, combat efficiency, number of weapons and ammunition, exact coordinates of military strategic objects, etc.

On 30 April 2017, while performing a secret mission by soldier Turan Ibrahimli, the Ministry of Defense investigated the aforementioned events, as a result of which the members of the criminal group Natiq Quluzade, Nijat Rzayev, Yalchin Tarverdizade, Emin Aibov, Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov, and Orhan Babayev were identified. After being discovered, they were unable to continue their criminal acts.

At the trial, Orhan Babayev did not plead guilty to the charges and stated that he had neither cooperated with the Armenian military nor been subjected to sexual violence. He further declared that he had been subjected to brutal beatings and torture during the investigation, which caused a large number of traces on his body. Orhan Babayev affirmed that he had been unable to withstand the torture and had been forced to give the necessary the  investigation testimonies.

The court treated O. Babayev’s statement with disbelief and considered the statement as a denial by the defendant of the initial testimony given during the investigation, and an attempt to defend himself.

On 10 October 2017, the conducted forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological examinations revealed that O. Babayev hadn’t had signs of any mental illness.

On 31 October 2017, in the course of forensic examinations performed with regard to O. Babayev, it hadn’t had recorded the existence of sexual violence traces on his body.

The forensic drug examination of the 19th of October, 2017, and the forensic medical examination of the 1st of November, 2017, showed that O. Babayev neither had drug addiction, nor had HIV infections or sexually transmitted diseases.

On 4 June 2018, a forensic medical examination was carried out, and numerous signs of violence (bruises, hemorrhages) had been detected on Orhan Babayev’s body, but their nature, time and origin could not be determined.

At the trial, the State Prosecutor asked the court to exclude the Article 338.1 of the AR Criminal Code from the charges, because the disposition of article 338.2 includes the features of the Article 338.1 and there was no need to apply both Articles.  Thus, the court excluded the Article 338.1 brought against Orhan Babayev.

Orhan Babayev has a positive characteristic provided at his work place. He has an unemployed father, a sister who is handicapped of the first group, a brother who is handicapped of the second group, an unemployed spouse, and two young children.

 

The victims’ testimonies

In the course of the trial, Amrah Azizli, the victim, testified that he was appointed a machine gunner in the military unit 703 in January 2017. He returned to his combat post on 27 April 2017, where Orhan Babayev, accompanied by the soldiers was painting the trenches. O. Babayev asked Azizli to help the but he refused to do it. Then, O. Babayev said to him, “When you go down, then we’ll sort it out”.  On 29 April 2017, Nijat Rzayev asked him not to talk like that. So, he grabbed up A. Azizli’s ear, then slapped him. Amrah Azizli did not receive any other injuries from Nijat Rzayev but reddened cheek.

In the course of the trial, Shamsaddin Bagishev, the victim, testified that he was called up for compulsory military service on 14 January 2016. Vali Khalilov was appointed as the assistant grenade launcher starting from January 2017.  He knew the soldiers Nijat Rzayev, Orhan Babayev, Zaur Abdullayev, Natiq Quluzade, Emin Aibov, Vali Khalilov, and Yalchin Tarverdizade. He had no problems with anyone and was always in the combat positions while in service.

On 27 March 2017, Vali Khalilov approached him and Ramesh Rahmanov, and said that it would be necessary to clear the trenches. Then they followed V. Khalilov, who was carrying a weapon. Zaur Abdullayev also followed them. The soldiers were cleaning the trench for 20 minutes. Then, leaving the combat post, the armed Veli Khalilov approached them. He pointed an automatic rifle at Ramesh Rahmanov saying “Go ahead, go ahead”. Vali Khalilov led them to the neutral zone. Z. Abdullayev followed them.  In about 150 meters, 4 Armenian soldiers approached them. One of them led R. Rahmanov to the Armenian side of the dugout, where two of the Armenians had committed sexual assaults against him.   Then, S. Bagishev was subjected to the same violence. After having got out of the dugout, they saw V. Khalilov and Z. Abdullayev who had been waiting for them on the road laughing at them. When Sh. Bagishev asked who those people were, V. Khalilov answered that they were the Armenian soldiers.

On 30 July 2017, Shamsaddin Bagishev was released to the reserve due to the end of his service.

In the course of the investigation, Asiman Ramazanov, the victim, testified that he had been called up for the compulsory military service on 28 July 2016. On 23 March 2017, Vali Khalilov surrendered him to three Armenian soldiers who had committed a violent sexual intercourse  against him. At the end of March 2017, Zaur Abdullayev reached out to him by the radio and asked to provide him the combat post coordinates, which Ramazanov did.

During the trial, Djalil Mammadov, the victim, testified that he had been called up for the compulsory military service on 5 April 2016. He knew the soldiers Nijat Rzayev, Orhan Babayev, Zaur Abdullayev, Natiq Quluzade, Emin Aibov, Vali Khalilov, and Yalchin Tarverdizade during his service.

Djalil Mammadov testified that, on 27 April 2017, he was at a combat post along with Ramesh Rahmanov at the same time as Vali Khalilov and Orhan Babayev were there. At night, around 2 a.m., V. Khalilov went towards another combat post in order to check the communication connection. Dj. Mammadov also left with him. 15 minutes later, Vali Khalilov stepped away from Dj. Mammadov, and then, in front of him, there were suddenly two soldiers. One of them pushed Dj. Mammadov down to the ground, while the other twisted his hands in the back. Looking at their uniforms he recognized the Armenian soldiers. Having overrun Dj. Mammadov’s resistance, one of them committed sexual assault against him.

After that the Armenian soldiers talked to Vali Khalilov about something, but he did not understand what  was the subject of their conversation. V. Khalilov, then, threatened Dj. Mammadov that if he told anyone about the assault, his family members would be killed. Having been afraid of the threats, Mammadov did not tell anyone about what had happened. On 2 October 2017, Dj. Mammadov completed his military service and left.

In the course of the investigation, Ramesh Rahmanov, the victim, testified that he was called up for the compulsory military service on 29 January 2016. He knew Vali Khalilov and Zaur Abdullayev while he had been on duty. On 27 March 2017, he was at a combat post.  There were also Turgut Bahmanly, Vali Khalilov, Jafar Sultanly, Djalil Mammadov, Shamsaddin Bagishev, Hayal Samedli, Shukur Kerimzade, Rufat Ahmedzade, Namiq Babayev and Zaur Abdullayev. That day, Vali Khalilov and Zaur Abdullayev, threatening him with their weapons, led him and Shamsaddin Bagishev towards the enemy’s fire sectors. There, four Armenian soldiers approached them.They pushed Sh. Bagishev into a trench, whereas V. Khalilov and Z. Abdullayev stepped aside. At that moment S. Bagishev was cornered and  started to cry. One of the Armenian military overrun his resistance and committed a violent sexual act against him.

On 13 April 2017, Ramesh Rahmanov together with Vali Khalilov went to the left side of the post, where V. Khalilov started shouting, and a few minutes later two Armenian soldiers approached them. V. Khalilov ordered to R. Rahmanov to be silent, and one of the Armenian soldiers committed sexual assault against R. Rahmanov. When the Armenian soldiers left, Khalilov approached Rahmanov and hit him twice with an automatic rifle butt stock on his shoulder.  On their way back, Vali Khalilov told Rahmanov that everything had been videotaped and if Rahmanov told anyone about it, the video would be distributed to the Internet and his family would be killed. Having been afraid of his threats, R. Rahmanov did not tell anyone about  the assault.

During the investigation, Rashad Rashidzade, the victim, testified that he had been called up for the compulsory military service on 19 January 2016. On 12 January 2017, he was appointed a shooter.

In January 2017, he noticed a drone belonging to the Armenian armed forces. R. Rashidzade went to get his weapon in order to neutralize the drone, but Yalchin Tarverdizade did not allow him to do that.

In March 2017, R. Rashidzade was appointed to a combat post, the commander of which was Emin Aibov. Yalchin Tarverdizade and Azad Karimov were also on duty. Rashad Rashidzade, having once been at the post, saw Armenian soldiers coming close to their direction,  and he immediately informed Emin Aibov about it. However, E. Aibov did not pay any attention to it and ordered him to continue his military duty. Afterwards, R. Rashidzade heard a noise and once again reported it to Emin Aibov. The latter replied, “It’s nothing”. When the sound of noise resumed, Yalchin Tarverdizade decided to leave Azad Karimov on his place and went towards the outgoing sound. Then, he called out Rashad Rashidzade. When R. Rashidzade came up to Tarverdizade, three Armenian soldiers approached him from behind and, two of them, having overrun his resistance, sexually assaulted him. Y. Tarverdizade stood nearby, and watched the Armenian soldiers’ actions. When Rashidzade returned to his post, he told E. Aibov about it, but Aibov just laughed at him. R. Rashidzade asked Y. Tarverdizade why he did not help him, on which Y. Tarverdizade replied that it was E. Aibov’s order.

Emin Aibov was guiding the Azerbaijani snipers on the wrong way, whereas they were to neutralize the positions of the Armenian side.

Rashad Rashidzade also revealed that Natiq Quluzade had not shot at the Armenian military positions, he had hidden cartridges in the cigarette boxes, then put them in the iron jars, and used them to check his accuracy. Rashidzade neither had any knowledge that he had been handed over by Natiq Quluzade to the Armenian soldiers, nor saw if the Armenian military had videotaped the assault against him.

 

The witnesses’ testimonies

In the course of the investigation, the witness Nijat Karimov testified that Emin Aibov worked for the Armenians military forces. On 13 March 2017, two high-ranking military officials from the Ministry of Defense arrived at the area and inspected the sniper positions, as well as the locations convenient for neutralizing and eliminating the enemy soldiers. When they were examining the positions, Emin Aibov pointed them out to unsuitable locations for the sniper fire. When an order for immediate destruction of enemy positions was received from senior officials, Emin Aibov did not allow the military personnel to open fire. Despite the fact that E. Aibov has repeatedly seen the Armenian military, he never allowed to open fire against them.

During the trial, a witness Zakariya Huseynzade testified that he had acquainted with the defendants. In January 2017, Rashad Rashidzade, Yalchin Tarverdizade and Ali Ahmadov went to clean the combat post. At that time, an Armenian drone flew over them, which could be easily shot down since it was flying at the low altitude. However, Yalchin Tarverdizade told them not to do that.  In February 2017, Rashad Rashidzade observed the enemy positions using his binoculars and wanted to open fire upon their locations. However, I. Tarverdizade confiscated the binoculars and prevented him from doing so.

Zakariya Huseynzade also testified that Emin Aibov had forbidden to open fire upon the enemy positions.  Z. Huseynzade indicated that while he had been at the post, he saw an Armenian soldier in the vicinity of an Azerbaijani post who had been looking for something. He immediately informed E. Aibov about that face, and the necessity to open fire, but Emin Aibov did not let him do so.  Z. Huseynzade also pointed out that in March, 2017, the Armenian military attacked the Azerbaijani positions, and at that moment Muhammad Shafiyev was in charge of the post, and Natiq Quluzade was the commander of the squadron. Prior to the attack, Quluzade, together with the soldiers, went somewhere and was not there at the time of the attack. But despite that, the fighting troops were able to repel the attack.

In the course of the trial, a witness Fuad Huseynov testified that he was appointed to the position of the shooter during his military service from 3 January 2017. On 25 March 2017, by the order of the Senior Lieutenant Fuad Rahimov, he was appointed to the position of the unit commander. At that time, Emin Aibov was the commander of the combat post, and Yalchin Tarverdizade was assigned to perform the duty of the Chief Shooter, Rashad Rashidzade was assigned to the position of the shooter, Zakariya Huseynzade, Azad Karimov and Mansur Rustamov were to perform the duties of shooters – grenadiers.

On 29 March 2017, Rashad Rashidzade was on duty, when he heard a suspicious sound and reported it to E. Aibov. Emin Aibov, taking Rashidzade’s binoculars and looking in the distance, said that there was nothing there. At 4 a.m., Rashad Rashidzade was serving along with Yalchin Tarverdizade and Azad Karimov. Then, Fuad Huseynov replaced R. Rashidzade on duty. Fuad saw R. Rashidzade informing E. Aibov that during the surveillance he had noticed some kind of silhouette. Fuad Huseynov also saw R. Rashidzade entering the trench and informing E. Aibov about some noise. Though, he found out about surrender of Rashidzade by Y. Tarverdizade and E. Aibov to the Armenian military, only after the disclosure of that crime had been revealed.

At the trial, the witness Azad Karimov testified that while on compulsory military service, he had been appointed to the position of the shooter since 3 January 2017. He was acquainted with Farid Rahimov, Turgut Bahmanly, Orkhan Babayev, Nijat Rzayev, Emin Aibov, Zaur Abdullayev, Vali Khalilov, and Natiq Quluzade due to his military service. Emin Aibov, Rashad Rashidzade, Nijat Karimov, Zakariya Huseynzade, Yalchin Tarverdizade, Elnur Qurbanov, Metin Ahmadov, and Muhammad Zaliyev served near the village of Hasangaya.

Since 25 March 2017, Farid Rahimov has been assigned on the shift duty at several combat posts, and Azad Karimov has been serving at one of those posts at the same time. The commander of the post was Emin Aibov. On 29 March 2017, Fuad Huseynov was responsible for the communication, whereas R. Rashidzade observed the positions of the Armenian military. Azad Kerimov testified that he had seen Rashidzade, having noticed some silhouette, told Emin Aibov about it,  however, E. Aibov  had answered to Rashidzade “It is nothing” and had not  allowed to open fire. Some time later, Y.  Tarverdizade joined Rashidzade, and they continued serving together. Next morning, he saw that Y. Tarverdizade argued with R. Rashidzade, but he didn’t know the subject of the dispute. Azad Karimov said that he had only once seen R. Rashidzade reporting to E. Aibov about some suspicious silhouette. He found out about the fact that Yalchin Tarverdizade and Emin Aibov organized the surrender of R. Rashidzade to the Armenian military only after the disclosure of that crime.

Azad Karimov also indicated that despite the fact that he had repeatedly reported to E. Aibov about the Armenian military entering the trenches, E. Aibov had not allowed to open fire on the enemy’s positions. At that time he could not comprehend Emin Aibov’s behavior, but later he realized that it was due to Aibov’s secret cooperation with the Armenian military.

During the trial, the witness Farid Rahimov testified that as a senior lieutenant, he had been on duty with Emin Aibov and Rashad Rashidzade.

In March 2017, F. Rahimov had personally instructed Aibov and Rashidzade a bout the opening fire upon the enemy’s positions. Farid Rahimov said that E. Aibov had never reported to him about R. Rashidzade’s intention to open fire on the Armenian positions, and nobody had forbidden him to do so. F. Rahimov did not know anything about the fact that E. Aibov had prohibited Rashidzade to do so.

 

The judicial investigation conclusion

All testimonies of the defendants concerning the tortures have been considered by the court as the testimonies of a defence nature. In its verdict, the court stated aggravating and mitigating circumstances for each of the defendants.

Thus, with regard to Natiq Quluzade, as an aggravating circumstances were the following: the repeatedly committed crimes, the perpetration of crimes causing serious consequences, the involvement of crimes within a criminal group, committing crimes based on lowly motives, as well as in order to hide another crime, the commission of crimes against the individuals fulfilling the official duty. The Court noted that mitigating circumstances do not provide the grounds for maximum penalty imposing.

With regard to Nijat Rzayev, the court noted the following mitigating circumstances: his young age, the crime committed for the first time, his difficult family situation and the presence of two minor children, the unemployed spouse and sister, a disabled (2 group handicapped) father, a veteran of the Karabakh war, as well as the fact that Nijat Rzayev had been sexually abused by the Armenian military, and as a result of that violence he had developed his dependence. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

With regard to Zaur Abdullayev, the court noted the following mitigating circumstances: his young age, the crime committed for the first time, his difficult family situation and the presence of two minor children, the unemployed spouse and sister, a disabled (2 group handicapped) father, a veteran of the Karabakh war, as well as the fact that Zaur Abdullayev had been sexually abused by the Armenian military, and as a result of that violence he had developed his dependence. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

With regard to Vali Khalilov, the court noted the following mitigating circumstances: his young age, the crime committed for the first time, his difficult family situation and the presence of two minor children, the unemployed spouse and sister, a disabled (2 group handicapped) father, a veteran of the Karabakh war, as well as the fact that Vali Khalilov had been sexually abused by the Armenian military, and as a result of that violence he had developed his dependence. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

With regard to Emin Aibov, the court noted the following mitigating circumstances: his young age, the crime committed for the first time, his difficult family situation and the presence of two minor children, the unemployed spouse and sister, a disabled (2 group handicapped) father, a veteran of the Karabakh war, as well as the fact that Emin Aibov had been sexually abused by the Armenian military, and as a result of that violence he had developed his dependence. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

With regard to Yalchin Tarverdizade, the court stated the following as mitigating circumstances: sincere repentance and acknowledgement of guilt, his youth, first-time crime commission, his health state such as: left ventricular hypertrophy, ischemia of the posterior wall of the heart, arterial hypertension, outpatient condition, as well as the fact that he had been sexually abused by the Armenian military through the intermediary of the people he was subordinated to. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

With regard to Orhan Babayev, the court indicated as mitigating circumstances: the young age, the first-time commission of crimes, the difficult family situation and two minor dependent children, unemployed spouse and father, a sister who is the first group disabled, a brother who is the second group disabled, the death of his mother due to cancer in 2007, as well as the fact that he had been subjected to sexual violence by the Armenian military and the dependence resulting from such a violence. As the aggravating circumstances, the court noted: the crime caused the serious consequences; the crime within a criminal group; the crime motivated by lowly motives and with the purpose of hiding another crime; the crime against the individuals performing their official duty.

The Terter Military Court, having considered this criminal case under closed regime, sentenced the soldiers:

  • Natiq Quluzade was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2,331.3, 332.3, 338.2, 341.3,349.2.1 and 349.2.4 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment;
  • Nijat Rzayev was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 331.2, 331.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment;
  • Zaur Abdullayev was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment;
  • Vali Khalilov was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment;
  • Emin Aibov was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment;
  • Yalchin Tarverdizade was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment;
  • Orhan Babayev was found guilty in committing crimes under the Articles 134, 150.2.1, 150.2.4, 150.2.5, 274, 329.3, 330.3, 331.2, 331.3, 332.3, 338.2 and 341.3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic, and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment;

 

Commentary by expert lawyer:

A court decision is illegal and unjustified. It is important to respect the basic principles of criminal procedure in the investigation and consideration of any criminal case. Violation of the principles or terms of criminal proceedings in the cases established by the Criminal Code may lead to the conclusion that the completion of criminal proceedings is invalid, to the annulment of the rulings adopted in the course of criminal proceedings, or to the conclusion that the collected materials have no proven validity.

One of the fundamental rights of citizens in a democratic state is the right to freedom. The right to freedom guaranteed by the Article 28 of the Azerbaijan Republic Constitution. According to this article:

  1. Everyone has the right for life.
  2. Except extermination of enemy soldiers in a case of military aggression, when executing the sentence and in other cases envisaged by law, right of every person for life is inviolable.

In proclaiming the right to freedom, this article refers to the individual freedom in its classical conception, i.e. the physical freedom of a person. In order to determine, whether a person is deprived of his or her freedom, his or her specific situation must be taken into account, and all relevant criteria such as type, duration, consequences and conditions of implementation of the measure under consideration should be considered. The deprivation of freedom must be lawful in the first place with respect to the domestic law perspective.

The right to freedom is one of the fundamental human rights guaranteed also by the international law provisions. According to the Article 5 (1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

The list of restrictions in this Article is rather clear and cannot be interpreted in any mind-independent manner. According to this article: “No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;

(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation prescribed by law;(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;

(d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;

(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;

(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.

This list of restrictions is exhaustive. Deprivation of freedom must also be lawful, in other words, consistent with the objective of one of the cases on this list. The core of the article is the physical freedom of an individual. It enshrines a fundamental human right, namely the protection of everyone against arbitrary interference by the State in their right to freedom.

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms provides that only a reasonable suspicion of a person committing a criminal offence can justify deprivation of freedom. Therefore, a well-founded suspicion is an essential element of the Convention’s protection against the arbitrary deprivation of freedom. Establishing a reasonable suspicion presupposes the existence of facts or information that can convince an objective observer that a person may have committed the offence. What may be considered reasonable depends on the set of circumstances.

The complex of circumstances in the commented case cannot convince an objective observer that an individual may have committed the incriminated crime. First of all, there is one very important point amongst those circumstances: ALL THE SEVEN DEFENDANTS talked about the torture, and the expertise confirmed the injuries on their bodies. Secondly, the two defendants (Vali Khalilov and Yalchin Tarverdizade) changed their testimonies three times, once during the investigation and twice in the course of the proceedings. The testimonies of the other defendants, all of them without exception, have differed at the investigation and at the trials. All the defendants testified that they had been subjected to inhuman treatment and torture by the law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, the court did not take any action in the investigation of those allegations, moreover, it had been considered by the court as “self-protective” evidences. What the verdict was based on, it was not said. The accused’s contradictory testimonies have led us all to believe that the arrests had no legitimate purpose defined by either the State or International Law. The witnesses’ testimonies are to be also considered irrefutable, as all witnesses in the case are the military personnel, which means that they have a certain dependency. Thus, an objective observer has all the facts to consider the arrests of soldiers illegitimate.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also protects the right to freedom. According to the Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also enshrines the right to freedom as a fundamental human right. Thus, according to the Article 9, Paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has repeatedly recommended in its judgments to all the States that an arrest measure has been chosen as a last resort and  at the same time to protect the physical freedom of an individual. Thus, the ECHR judgment in the case of Belevitsky v. Russia of March 1, 2007, states, “The European Court reiterates that the detention, in necessary, should be based on the national legislation in order to meet the standard of ‘lawfulness'” (Paragraph 90). –

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/fre#{“itemid”:[“001-79648”]}

Another Right that is equally important under both the national and international laws, it is the Right not to be subjected to torture and inhuman treatment. As it was mentioned above, all the accused have reported being tortured by the law enforcement officers. However, the court, without investigating the facts, considered these testimonies to be “self-defence”.

 

The Right not to be subjected to torture is stipulated in the Article 15.2 of the Criminal  Procedure Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. According to this Article:

 

 

15.2. During the criminal prosecution the following shall be prohibited:

15.2.1. the use of torture and physical and psychological force, including the use of medication, withdrawal of food, hypnosis, deprivation of medical aid and the use of other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment;

15.2.3. taking evidence from victims, suspects or accused persons or from other

participants in the criminal proceedings using violence, threats, deceit or by other unlawful acts which violate their rights.

 

The Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms prohibits tortures and inhuman treatments.

The deeds that accuse the victims are unacceptable or dangerous in any way but they do not justify the tortures and inhumane treatments. In short, it is the dignity and physical integrity of the individual that this norms seek to protect. In order for ill-treatment to be considered as a violation of the Article 3, it must reach a minimum level of cruelty…

Thus, if a defendant claims to have been subjected to the treatment provided by the norm in question, an official effective investigation must be conducted in order to identify the perpetrators and punish them. See Michele de Salvia, “Precedents of the European Court of Human Rights”, St. Petersburg, 2004.

 

The Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit tortures and inhuman treatments. These norms are non-exclusive pointes, which means that acts of torture are prohibited even in the most complex situations: in times of emergency, war, fight against terrorism, organized crime, mafia, etc.

The judgment issued by the ECHR in the case of Soering v. The United Kingdom on 07 July 1989 stated the following (Paragraph 88): “Article 3 (art. 3) makes no provision for exceptions and no derogation from it is permissible under Article 15 (art. 15) in time of war or other national emergency. This absolute prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the terms of the Convention shows that Article 3 (art. 3) enshrines one of the fundamental values of the democratic societies making up the Council of Europe. It is also to be found in similar terms in other international instruments such as the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights and is generally recognised as an internationally accepted standard”. –

https://www.refworld.org/cases,ECHR,3ae6b6fec.html

One of the most important points is the testimonial evidence in the case trial. In this case, they are as follows: the testimony of the accused at the process of investigation and trial, the vistims’ and witnesses’ testimonies, the results of expert examinations, the confrontations, and the verifications at the crime scenes.

Examining the abovementioned evidences, we can conclude that there is not enough evidences to convict and impose such severe penalties.

According to the Article 138.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Azerbaijan Republic (CCP AR), proof shall consist in the obtention, verification and assessment of evidence in order to establish facts of importance for the lawful, thorough and equitable

determination of the criminal charge. And the prosecutor shall be responsible for proving the grounds for the criminal responsibility of the accused and whether or not he is guilty (CCP AR).

According to the Article 144 of the CCP AR, evidence collected for the purposes of prosecution shall be verified fully, thoroughly and objectively. As part of the verification process the items of evidence collected shall be analysed and compared with one another, new evidence shall be collected and the reliability of the source of the evidence obtained shall be established.

According to the Article 351.2 of the CCP AR, a conviction by the court may not be based on assumptions and shall be handed down only where guilt of the accused is proved during the court’s examination of the case. In this case, the prosecution has been unable to prove the guilt of the accused people, has been unable to provide irrefutable evidences that would justify conviction and the imposition of the severe penalties.

One of the serious charges was a charge for treason. This charge was made against all the defendants. The Article 274 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (CC AR) states: “State betray, that is deliberately action committed by a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic to detriment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, state security or defensibility of the Azerbaijan Republic: changeover to enemy side, espionage, distribution of the state secret to foreign state, rendering assistance to a foreign state, foreign organization or their representatives in realization of hostile activity against the Azerbaijan Republic”.

 

The subject of treason is based on the information that constitutes  the State secrets:

– Espionage, which is the transfer, collection, kidnapping or storage of the information constituting the State secrets passed to a foreign State, foreign organization or their representatives, as well as the transfer or collection of other information for the purpose of using it to the detriment of the foreign security of the country;

– Disclosure of the State Secrets, which means the deliberate transfer of the information protected by the state in the field of its military, foreign policy, economic, intelligence, counter-intelligence and operational search activities to a foreign state, foreign organization or their representatives, the dissemination of which may harm the security of the AR;

– Any other assistance to a foreign State, foreign organization or their representatives in conducting hostile activities harmful to the country’s external security ;

– Committing any type of action that is harmful to the external security of the country, but would not fall under the definition of  a rendition of the State secrets or espionage.

The perpetrator of crime is a citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic who has reached the age of 16 years.

As shown in the Article 274 of the Criminal Code, it contains several features. The court verdict does not specify what particular feature is found in the activities of this or that accused individual. For example:

  • whether an act is committed at the expense of sovereignty of the State,
  • territorial sovereignty of the State,
  • The State security or
  • national defence capability of the Azerbaijan Republic,
  • if there was a diversion to the enemy’s side, espionage
  • the rendition of the State secrets to a foreign State, assistance to a foreign State, foreign organization or their representatives in conducting any hostilities against the Azerbaijan Republic.

 

There is no concrete evidence of the guilt of each accused person in the commission of an offence provided in the Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the AR, i.e. whether the individual has committed a violation of transition in the enemy’s favour, espionage, or extradition of the State secrets to a foreign State. The verdict is based on all of the above, which creates reasonable doubts about the legitimacy of the accusation.

The verdict states that the accused were providing some data constituting a military secret to the Armenian army. Let’s review what data constitute the military secret in accordance with the law.

In the Article 5.1 of the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic “On State Secrets”, there are the following statements:

5.1. The State secrets in the military sector are as follows:

5.1.1. the content of strategic and operational plans, the documents of operational department on preparation and conduct of military operations, strategic, operational and mobilization deployment of the Armed Forces of the Azerbaijan Republic, other armed formations, other troops stipulated by the legislation, their combat and mobilization readiness, creation and use of mobilization resources;

5.1.2. on the plans for the construction of the armed forces and other armed formations provided for in the legislation of the Azerbaijan Republic, on directions for the development of armaments and military equipment, on the content and results of the implementation of targeted programmes, and on research and development work to create and modernize the patterns of armaments and military equipment;

5.1.3. the tactical and technical characteristics, and combat capabilities of weapons and military equipment, properties, the formulas or technologies, and production of  new types of the military purpose;

5.1.4. the location, designation, degree of readiness, security of the facilities  of particular national security and defensibility, their construction and operation, as well as the allocation of land, resources and coastal and offshore areas for these facilities;

5.1.5. the location, the effective renaming, the organizational structure, the number of personnel and their combat support, as well as the military, political or operational situation;

5.1.6. the coordinates of geodetic points and geographical targets of the significant defence and economic importance within the territory of Azerbaijan.

 

The sentencing verdict does not make it clear: to whom, how, when and where the confidential information was transmitted, whether the information had the secret military date that he allegedly provided to the servicemen of a foreign country, if so, who ordered the disclosure of that information, and so on.

There are many questions, but you will not find the answers to these issues in the sentence. There is no justification for the conviction, which is necessary for the verdict to be lawful and well-founded. The charges in the sentence are listed quite automatically and consist of the formal wording used in the criminal law.

Thus, the illegality and groundlessness of the sentence stemmed from the investigators’ violation of the fundamental rights of the accused, such as the right to freedom and the right not to be subjected to tortures and inhuman treatment; the testimonies of the accused people have been obtained by means of torture and used as evidence; during the trial, there were heard the court’s reference to those testimonies rather than the testimonies revealed at the trial; and the lack of an investigation of the occurred tortures. Despite the fact that the majority of defendants had the benefit of mitigating circumstances, the judge had not taken them into account in determining the imposition of severe penalties. Those circumstances had only been enumerated in the verdict. The closed trial and the lack of public monitoring contributed to the imposition of an illegal sentence.

The so-called “terter case” is one of the most top-secret and bloody crimes of the Aliyev regime. In May – July of 2017, about 400 (!!!) people related to this case were arrested. In the course of the so-called investigation, 10 people had been killed as a result of the torture.

  1. Mehman Huseynov
  2. Sakhavat Bunyatov
  3. Saleh Qafarov
  4. Elchin Quliyev
  5. Tamkin Nizamioglu
  6. Dayandur Azizli
  7. Suleyman Kazimov
  8. Elkhan Agazade
  9. Elchin Mirzaliyev
  10. Ruslan Djagverdiyev

Obtaining the detailed information about all the convicts and the trials against them has not been possible yet. All trials have been held in closed session. There is no information about the courts and convicts in the media, on the Internet or elsewhere. The arrests and falsification of the investigation materials have been supervised by the Lieutenant General of Justice, the Military Prosecutor of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Deputy Prosecutor General of the AR, Valiyev Khanlar Rustam oglu.