TRIALS IN JANUARY 2019
According to the agencies Turan and Faktxeber, the trial of 11 people arrested in connection with the July 2018 Ganja events began in the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes chaired by the Judge Faiq Mahmudov. The 11 accused are: Maarif Hajiyev, Shahlar Rzayev, Ruslan Hasanov, Tural Bayramov, Nizami Akbarov, Kamal Maharramov, Seymur Aliyev, Togrul Verdiyev, Orkhan Yagnaliyev, Araz Hasanov, and Vaqif Ashrafov. All of them are charged under the Articles 220.1 (riots) and 315.2 (use of violence against an official authority) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.
According to the official version, a criminal case was initiated in connection with a pre-planned terrorist act committed on 03 July 2018 against the Head of the Ganja Executive Power Elmar Valiyev and the police officer Gasym Ashbazov. And also, on the 10 July, the murder of two police officers by a group of radically minded religious people who provoked mass riots in support of this terrorist attack. In connection with the Ganja events, 77 people were brought to criminal responsibility and 11 more people were on the wanted list. By early 2019, four cases involving 36 people had been referred to the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. Despite the fact that, according to the legislation the hearing was to be held in the city of Ganja, the judges of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes went to Baku, and the trial was held in the building of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku.
According to the Azadliq newspaper article, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan has considered the cassation appeal of the deputy head of the Muslim Unity Movement Elchin Gasymov, and 12 other believers. However, just the accused Isa Ibrahimov, was brought before a judge. He was accused of attempted coup d’йtat, possession of firearms and many other crimes. The accused believer pointed out that at the time of the events in the village of Nardaran on November 2015, he was abroad making a pilgrimage. Upon his return, he was arrested at the border. But the court rejected all the filed appeals. Presently, the lawyers, on their behalf of the accused prepare a complaint to the ECHR.
Another trial in connection with the Ganja events in July 2018 began in the Sabunchi District Court of Baku, under the presiding judge Elchin Hasmammadov of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. This time, it concerned a group of 11 people – Kamal Gudrat oglu Quliyev, Raul Fazil oglu Suleymanov, Ulvi Saladdin oglu Hasanov, Vugar Rauf oglu Allahverdiyev, Samir Ramiz oglu Ibrahimov, Hayal Khalig oglu Gafarov, Ali Huseyn oglu Rzayev, Rauf Arif oglu Gurbanzade, Mirashgin Nazim oglu Seyidov, Kamala Gabil oglu Mammatagiyev and Gadir Fazil oglu Huseynov. All of them are charged with crimes under Articles 220.1. (riots) and 315.2. (use of violence against a representative of power) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. 17 people were recognized as victims.
Vahid Abilov, a believer from the Christian community of Yehovah’s Witnesses, refused to serve in the army against conscientious objection and declared his willingness to perform alternative service instead of military one. On 06 September 2018, he was sentenced to 1 year’s conditional imprisonment for this refusal. On 31 October 2018, the Ganja Court of Appeal rejected his complaint and the sentence was enforced. According to the Norwegian organization Forum 18, Vahid Abilov appealed to the Supreme Court against his conviction on 12 January 2019.
The Baku Court on Grave Crimes, the presiding Judge Rahib Salmanov, completed the trial in the case of 40-year-old resident of Baku Eldaniz Mammadov, nicknamed Abu Jihad, accused of participation in illegal armed groups taking part in combat operations in Syria. According to the Meydan TV and the Veten ugrunda agency, E. Mammadov has been fighting in Syria since 2012 being a very popular blogger especially among the faithful Azerbaijani believers. He was arrested by Turkish law enforcement authorities at the end of 2016 and deported to Azerbaijan on 10 September 2017. His trial began in May 2018. Eldaniz Mammadov was sentenced to 15 years and 6 months imprisonment