TRIALS IN JULY 2019
The trial of 42-year-old Rovshan Rahimov, a resident of Baku, and 37-year-old Mehman Qarayev, a resident of Sumgayit city, accused in participation in hostilities as part of illegal armed groups in Syria, continued in the Baku Court for Serious Crimes chaired by the Judge Faiq Qaniyev.
The relatives of the defendants testified at the trial. A. Qarayev, Mehman Qarayev’s brother, said that he was not aware that Mehman had gone to Syria. He only knew that his brother had left for Turkey to earn money. In response, the Judge F. Qaniyev noticed that A. Qarayev said otherwise in his testimony during the preliminary investigation. However, the latter could not provide a reasonable explanation for the contradictions in his testimony during the investigation and at the present trial.
Then S. Rahimov spoke saying that he had been in a bad terms with his brother Rovshan Rahimov, especially after his brother had been changed a lot and begun to pray, “He was not like that before. But since he began to live by the rules of faith, our relationship has been troubled and cooled down. We stopped seeing each other”.
There was a hearing of the case of Abulfaz Bunyadov, a believer sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in July 2018, at the Baku Nizami District Court under the chairmanship of Judge Rauf Ahmadov. Bunyadov had been paralyzed as a result of injures he had received during a police operation in the village of Nardaran on 26 November 2015. He was brought on stretchers to the court and back to the prison. Recently, his health condition had deteriorated dramatically and he was transferred to the Medical Unit of the Penitentiary Service.
Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, the lawyer of the convicted A. Bunyadov, applied for his release on the basis of the Article 76.2 of the Criminal Code (the liberation of a person suffering from a serious illness) of Azerbaijan Republic. Following this, a week ago, on the Internet the activists started collecting signatures under the petition addressed to the Azerbaijani leadership with a request to assist in the release of A. Bunyadov. The state prosecutor did not object. The court, after a short meeting, decided to release A. Bunyadov in the courtroom, after which the latter was sent home.
According to Azadliq newspaper, the Baku Court of Appeal continued reviewing the case of 7 other prisoners convicted to various terms of imprisonment in the “Ganja case” on 15 March 2019. Initially, the presiding judge, Teyyub Mukhtarov, provided the information about the facts of torture of the accused that had been raised during the previous trial. The request has been sent to the Main Department for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan; however, their reply was that no one had ever been tortured in their department. Also, it was said that they had not received any allegations of torture. A similar answer was received from the Nizami District Police Department of Ganja City saying that no one complained about torture, and no one had ever been subjected to.
A request was also sent to the Baku Pre-trial Detention Center Kyurdakhani, and they replied that all seven prisoners had been examined by doctors and no new signs of torture had been found on their bodies at pre-trial detention center. While the judge was reading these answers, the prisoners started shouting out that all that had not been true and that none of them had been through a medical examination in the pre-trial detention facility at all. Their relatives also started yelling. The prisoners also demanded the judge to invite for questioning those policemen who had testified against them, and the prisoners’ lawyers also supported their demands.
Elvin Aliyev, a prisoner, indicated that he had been arrested for resisting the police, however, in reality he had not been resisting. The false charges stated that he together with two other prisoners had prepared a plan of action in Ganja, whereas all three had met for first time after their arrest.
Alim Yusifov’s mother asked the judge to provide her with a certificate that her son had not been a political prisoner. She explained to the judge that her son’s wife was seriously ill and could not support and feed by herself their two young children. Therefore, she went to the Shamkir district social assistance Center where she was told that her husband had been a political prisoner and considering that fact they were not entitled to social assistance. Other prisoners’ relatives jumped up and started talking about similar problems in their families. The judge, gave up, stopped the trial and set a new one for 02 August.
On 05 July, during a joint raid of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Security Service and SCWRO there were found and confiscated 180 units of religious literature on suspicion of propaganda of “religious radicalism and extremism” at the seller Kyamran Huseynzade who sold them near the Mosque Qarachukhur of Surakhany district in Baku. Although nothing reminding extremism has been found but a police protocol had been drawn up and the case had been transferred to the Surakhany District Court since K. Huseynzade did not have a license to sell religious books.
On 23 July, Jeyhun Qadimov, a judge of the Surakhany District Court, found Huseynzade guilty under the Article 516.0.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Azerbaijan Republic and fined him 2,200 Manats (about 1,200 euros) as the assistant judge informed Forum 18. The assistant said that Huseynzade did not appeal the decision, and the same assistant refused to comment on the subject of punishment that was applied for offering religious literature and items for sale without the state permission.