03 June

On 03 June there was a trial presiding by the judge Chingiz Mammadov in the Baku Appeal Court. According to the Agency Veten ugrunda, it was a hearing to resolve the case of the 4 people among of the 11 accused  in the Ganja events that took place in July 2018.

Orhan Yagnaliyev, one of the defendants, stated in his speech that he had come to Ganja to attend his grandmother’s wake and was arrested along with his cousin in the street. When they were brought to the police station, there had already been plenty of people. The policemen started to beat up those people right in the corridor. “Then we were transferred to the Nizami Police Department. When we got inside, we saw the head of the department, Adalat Sadigov, and Orhan Babayev, an investigator from the General Prosecutor’s Office. They told us to give them 5.000 Manats each and then they would let us go. I answered them that I had been innocent and it would be proved, and then they would let me go anyway. In response Adalat Sadigov said that it is Azerbaijan here. And here, there is no law. He continues – “I will include you in the list of participants of the Ganja actions”. And then he added – “I can even shoot a bullet in your head and kill you, I’m not afraid of anyone”. And an investigator Orhan Babayev said, “I know what needs to be done to make you smart”. After heard him saying that I was stripped naked, my arms and legs were tied up and attached to the heating system. I was beaten up severely that I got completely deaf in one ear and, now I can’t hear. My nose was broken and my head was hit so hard, so it was smashed. Then they pinched my thumb between the doors, tortured my legs so I couldn’t walk for some days. After all kinds of torture I was subjected, they threw me into the disciplinary cell of the Ganja prison.  There, we have not be given any food or drink for 3 days.”

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

Then O. Yagnaliyev added that he was in a prison on 03 July. But the police protocol states that he was messaging with representatives of some groups by phone, “I was in prison on 03 July, and they didn’t give us to use our phones. It was only on 09 July when I returned home and used my old phone there. How could I correspond by phone from the police station? I was forced to confess that I had taken part in the action. I was subjected to such horrible tortures that I almost hanged myself in a cell”.O. Yagnaliev’s father got hysterical listening to his son talking. He could no longer hear what had been done to his son and left the courtroom going outside.

A citizen of Russia, Vaqif Ashrafov, who came to his historic homeland, at the trial, also spoke about the tortures he had been subjected to, “I was tortured by an assistant prosecutor by the name of Nihad. He took me to a room where I saw many broken chair legs. He tied up my arms and legs and pushed me on the floor. He has beaten me with those broken chair legs. Moreover, he took off his shoes and started hitting my ears with a heel, so my ears got bloody and torn. And these wounds haven’t healed yet. The only thing I have managed to tell him that I had blood clots and heart problems. But Adalat Sadigov said, “Where he has more pain, that’s exactly where you should hit him the most.”

After that, the judge announced the end of the session and scheduled the next on 20 June.

5 June

Abulfaz Bunyadov

The health condition of Abulfaz Bunyadov, a member of the Muslim Unity Movement (MUM), who was convicted of participation in the Nardaran events, has significantly deteriorated. During a special police operation in Nardaran on 26 November 2015, Bunyadov was wounded by bullet that damaged his spine. On 11 July 2018, the court sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment on charges of attempting to change the constitutional structure, terrorism, and others.

“Abulfaz has been already bedridden, he cannot move around on his own. He is kept in a medical facility and is looked after by other prisoners. In addition to his previous illnesses, such as spinal cord injury, hepatitis C, bedsores, he has recently been suffering from an intestinal infection and is unable to eat. We have done tests of the samples elsewhere, and the doctors there have found severe infections and fungi in the intestines. He is in a very serious condition,” – the spouse of the convict Leyla Bunyadova said.

According to her, Bunyadov is being held along with five others in a cramped room. “Keeping a person in such a condition in prison is like killing him. Abulfaz Bunyadov should be immediately released and brought into the clinic under serious medical supervision. Otherwise, the responsibility for what happens to him will be laid on those who illegally condemned and kept him in prison,” the deputy chairman of the MUM, Elchin Gasymov, said.

12 June

The Supreme Court rejected Abulfaz Bunyadov’s appeal. He was convicted for participation in the Nardaran events. A group of human rights activists, civil society activists and intellectuals asked the country’s leadership to help release Bunyadov due to his serious health condition;  he suffered from limb paralysis, hepatitis C, intestinal infection. However, the call of the democratic public remained unfulfilled despite a threat to the convicted’s life.

13 June

Alim Yusifov

Alim Yusifov, who was sentenced to 7.5 years of imprisonment in the so-called “Ganja case” on 10 May 2019, lost consciousness in the detention center on 13 June. This was reported by the convicted Alim’s mother, Arzu Aliyeva, to the Veten ugrunda agency’s reporter, ” Now, Alim is  in the pre-trial detention facility in the village of Kyurdakhani. He called me, but could not speak because of the pain. He only said that he could not breathe because of the severe pain in his kidneys. My son asked many times the doctor to come and see him but he did not even look in his direction. Having said that, my son lost consciousness and the conversation was interrupted.”

Arzu Aliyeva continued by saying that her son had been absolutely healthy prior to his arrest, “Alim is now 30 years old. He has never complained about his health before. However, after his arrest he was so much beaten that his arm and nose got broken. His kidneys were badly affected. They have not been cured yet, and now his liver has deteriorated, because during interrogations he had been kicked all over his body, particularly badly beaten on his kidneys and liver. «She continued explaining that he was subjected to such severe beatings in order to admit his non-committed crime, “On 11 July 2018, at about 10 o’clock in the morning, the police officers took him away from his rented apartment in Ganja, and he was subjected to unimaginable torture. He was beaten so badly that the wounds on his face had not been healed for some months. They beat him and demanded him to agree with “his clime” – drugs trafficking or something else.”

16 June

Theologian Karbalayi Qismat Isayev

According to the site Xeber44, Karbalayi Qismat Isayev, a well-known theologian, who had been imprisoned in Correctional Colony #17, was disciplined and transferred to a punishment cell. The reason for this punishment is unknown. His relatives cannot talk to him or ask the prison authorities about the reason for his punishment.

It should be reminded that the theologian had been arrested on 19 April 2016 and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment on charges of committing crimes under the Articles 154 (Violation of citizens’ equality), 159.3 (Compulsion of citizens to vote against their will or obstruction of their voting), and 228.1 (Illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of

18 June

Vugar Khudiyev

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 June

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

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

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

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

25 June

Bakram Aliyev

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, Bakram Aliyev, accused in the so-called “Ganja case”, sent a letter through his relatives. It said, “I was detained by people in civilian clothes at the Navai post when I was going to Baku. I was brought to the branch of the Ministry of National Security in Ganja, and in about 5 hours I was handed over to the officers of the Nizami district police department in Ganja. They brought me to the chief’s office and showed me the video, asking, if it was me. I answered “yes”, and then I was hit. I defended myself as much as I could.

After that, they took me to another office, where I saw three people in a civilian clothes who started beating me up. I fell and then they kicked me with their feet. I couldn’t resist because my hands were handcuffed behind my back. I was beaten all over my body.

Then about 20 people in uniform or dressed in civilian clothes entered the office, and they all beat me brutally. They periodically beat me on the head with a heavy book.

One of the torturers in civilian clothes started searching my pockets and found 115 Manats (over 60 Euros) and said, “I take 100, and leave you 15.” I demanded to stop it, but in response he kept beating me again. Later, I found out that his name was Ramin.

Then I was dragged into some other room. There I saw an investigator who introduced himself as Javid. I began telling him where I was on 10 July and what had happened to me. At that moment seven policemen entered the room, one of them by the name Samir. He had a stick in his hands and beat me with it, others helped him and beat me up too. The investigator kept sitting in the room but he was silent and just watching. Most of the bruises were on my head and right arm, which immediately swollen and were covered with blood.

Then they picked me up on a chair. An investigator, Javid, said that I had to sign the documents that would qualify me guilty to the Article 315 (Resistance or violence against a member of the authorities – author’s note), and then I could be released in a year or two. “Otherwise, those people will beat you and then we charge you for a lot of crimes. We feel pity for you”. After those words he left the room. And the rest of the people attacked me beating more.

Then they brought me down to the first floor. There, in the corridor, I saw about 30 people who, having raised their hands, were facing the wall, and 7-8 policemen were standing behind hitting them on the head and back. It was the police “special forces”.

I’ve been handed over to those policemen who started beating me with their fists and legs. They knocked me down on the floor and climbed onto my back. Two of them started jumping on my back and I felt unbearable pain in my ribs. I could not cough or sneeze for two months, and I could hardly breathe.

Then they put me up against the wall with others and started hitting again. Two people fainted from the blows, the water was poured over them and they regained consciousness. Then I was taken to the yard of the police station, where there was a policeman with an automatic rifle from the “”special forces team”. I was in a terrible condition; my clothes had been completely torn on me and my head had got swollen. A policeman asked me, “Do you want to be saved? Run and I’ll shoot you. We’ve already shot three of yours anyway”.

I didn’t say a word, didn’t answer him at all. Meanwhile, other detainees were brought to the courtyard. We were taken to the “prisoners’ car” and brought to the Kyapaz District Police Department in Ganja. There, I was taken to the major Nizami’s room, who as soon as he saw me started beating with his fists and legs. I was then taken to the corridor, where I was ordered to lie face down to the floor. After that, they continued beating me again, and soon afterwards everything got dark in my eyes and I fainted. I regained consciousness when I was being dragged into a cell. My cellmates gave me water.

Two or three hours later. I was pulled out of the cell again and brought to a room where I saw some police captain. He unbuttoned his trousers and said that he would defile me, I started screaming and the captain was driven out of the room, but others came to beat me up again. Then they dragged me back to the cell where I was able just to lie down for 3-4 hours. Late at night, all of us were taken out of the cell again and put in a car to transport prisoners. We were 10-12 people. We were transported to the Nizami District Court in Ganja. But even here we were beaten up when we got out of the car. We were brought to the courtroom, where the judge sentenced us to 4 months imprisonment. After that, have been beating us again, they put us in the car and brought to the Kyapaz police station where we all have been left in the cells.

Early in the morning, I was taken out of my cell alone, and brought to the same room on the second floor.  Two men with batons entered the room and began beating me. My hands were handcuffed, I was lying unconscious on the floor. When they dragged me somewhere, I regained consciousness and saw my fingers tied with wire. I raised my head and saw some black machine on the table. They began to pass a current through my body. I collapsed 3-4 times, then with the help of ammonia they brought me to my senses and passed the current through my body again. some other policeman entered the room and said that he wanted to take care of me personally. He passed a very intense current through my body, and it made me scream wildly since I couldn’t stand the pain. My hand have been ruptured, I was unconscious, and I opened my eyes only when the police dragged me into my cell throwing onto my bunk. I haven’t been able to get up for two days.

Then I started to regain my strength and even walk with caution. Then, again I was taken back up to the 2nd floor, where they have been beating me up. And one of the torturers began to tear my hair from my head with his hand. Even 10 months later, I had severe headaches. They hit me with a baton for such a long time that I couldn’t walk or stand up, everything got swollen.

Then I was taken to the disciplinary cell, where they kept me cold without food or water for two days. Only after have spent two days in the disciplinary cell, they let me out and invited a doctor to examine me. He gave me a cream to moisten my body. He also gave me painkillers. After 22 days of brutal tortures, I have been taken out of the cell with a black bag on my head and transported somewhere. I didn’t know where they had been taken me, and I was prepared for the worst. Only the Lord alone knew. Finally I was brought to the Kyurdakhani Pre-trial Detention Center in Baku suburbs.”

28 June

According to the agency Veten ugrunda, the Baku Court of Appeal chaired by the Judge Alizamin Abdullayev from Ganja Serious Crimes Court, held a regular session on the so-called “Ganja cases” of a group of 8 defendants convicted on 02 March 2019 to various terms of imprisonment.

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

Then, the accused, Gulmirza Nuruzade, made a statement, saying that they had been forced to admit under the torture that Elman Quliyev had allegedly called them to take part in the action in Ganja, but he had refused to sign such a confession.

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