TRIALS IN MARCH 2019
The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes under chairmanship of the Judge Khagani Samadov held the final trial in the case of 6 more defendants connected to the Ganja events of July 2018. The trial took place in the premises of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku. Four defendants (Elvin Allahverdiyev, Elvin Nazarov, Renat Mammadov and Vugar Khudiyev) were charged with an offence under the Article 220.1. (riots) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. The two accused, Elman Rustamov and Neymat Heydarly, were charged with committing crimes under the Articles 220.1. and 315.2. (use of violence dangerous to life or health against a representative of the authorities performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Journalists were not allowed into the court room and they were obliged to receive information from their relatives.
All the defendants were unable to hire lawyers, instead they were obliged to accept state-controlled lawyers who remained on the sidelines. Moreover, the accused Elvin Nazarov’s lawyer Logman Abdullayev did not assist his client at the final trial of the court!
As expected, the accused defended themselves talking about torture and other violations of their rights during the arrest and investigation but the court turned a deaf ear to all their complaints, found all six accused guilty.
On 15 March 2019, the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes sentenced this group of defendants:
1. Elvin Allahverdiyev to 7 years imprisonment;
2. Elvin Nazarov to 7 years imprisonment;
3. Vugar Khudiyev to 7 years imprisonment;
4. Renat Mammadov to 6 years imprisonment;
5. Elman Rustamov to 8 years’ imprisonment;
6. Neymat Heydarly to 8 years imprisonment.
The Ganja Court of Appeal considered the complaint of the convicted activist of the Muslim Unity Movement Firudin Zeynalov. In October 2017, along with 6 other believers he was arrested after the police crackdown on the Ashura religious ceremony near the “Imamzade” sanctuary in Ganja. Zeynalov was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on 01 November 2018.
F. Zeynalov and his lawyer Zabil Qahramanov repeatedly filed appeals to various courts but each time it was rejected.
In turn, the law enforcement officers brought another charge against him for participation in the murder and terrorist act in Ganja in July 2018. The human rights activists in the country treated this statement as absurd and politically inclined, they stated: “How could a person in custody commit a crime nine months after his arrest?” The political motives of his persecution are not doubtful anymore. Nevertheless, an invetigation into the participation of the convicted person long before the July events continues.
And the trial ended as expected: the Judge Shamil Rzaquliyev rejected the complaint of the convicted person and recognized the previous courts decisions.
Another case of July 2018 events in Ganja was completed in The Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. This time, it concerned a group of seven people: Yavar Ismayilzade, Zabil Mammadov, Ganbar Garazade, Elvin Aliyev, Isa Maharramzade, Aydyn Rustamov, and Alim Yusifov. By the legislation, the court was to be held in Ganja city but the judges of the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes went to Baku and the trial took place in the building of Sabunchi district court of Baku city.
All the accused were charged under the Articles 120.2.3 (premeditated murder of the victim in connection with the performance of his official duties or public duty), 120.2.7 (premeditated murder of two or more persons), 220.1 (organization of riots), 221.3 (hooliganism committed with the use of weapons or objects used as weapons), 228.4 (illegal acquisition, sale or carrying of gas weapons, cold weapons, including throwing knives) and 315.2 (use of violence dangerous for life or health against authority representative performing his official duties) of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic.
In the course of the judicial investigation, all the defendants revealed that they had been subjected to torture during the preliminary investigation. However, the court disregarded these statements and ruled out legal proceedings.
On 15 March 2019, the verdict “of guilty” was given by the Ganja Court on Grave Crimes. According to the sentence, the defendants were sentenced:
- Yavar Ismayilzade to 9 years imprisonment;
- Zabil Mammadov to 8 years and 6 months imprisonment;
- Ganbar Garazade to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment;
- Elvin Aliyev to 6 years and 6 months imprisonment;
- Isa Maharramzade to 8 years imprisonment;
- Aydyn Rustamov to 8 years imprisonment;
- Alim Yusifov to 7years and 6 months imprisonment.
Another hearing began in connection to the Ganja event of July 2018 under the chairmanship of Judge Natiq Aliyev. This time it concerned a group of 8 people. Once again, it was a law violation since the court was held outside the city of Ganja, in the building of the Sabunchi District Court of Baku.
First, one of the accused, Urfan Mammadov, made a statement at the trial. He was charged under the Article 21 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. Also, the charges under the Articles 120.2.1 (premeditated murder committed by a group of people), 120.2.11 (premeditated murder connected with robbery, extortion, terrorism, or banditry), 214.2.6 (preparation of acts of terrorism on the basis of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 220.1 (organization of riots accompanied by violence and pogroms), 228.3 (illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons committed by an organized group), 278.2 (forcible seizure of power, commission of actions aimed at violent change of the constitutional order of the Azerbaijan Republic, including its secular character or violation of territorial integrity, or forcible seizure of power on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism), 279.1-1 (organization of armed formations, participation in the formations or groups on the grounds of religious enmity, religious radicalism or religious fanaticism) and 281.2 (public appeals against the State, committed repeatedly by the accused or a group of people).
Later his relatives told the journalists of the agency Veten ugrunda, on 23 July 2018, Urfan Mammadov was summoned to the Nizami police station in Ganja, where he was arrested and tortured. He was brutally beaten and electrocuted; several times electric shocks were used on his genitals. When he fainted, the water was poured over in order to make him regain his consciousness. And then they continued beating him again. Being unconscious and handcuffed Mammadov was dragged to the office of Adalat Sadigov, the Head of the Nizami police station in Ganja. Sadigov ruthlessly scolded Urfan Mammadov, then personally tortured him to get his confessions and make him sign an interrogation protocol frightening him with even more brutal torture and humiliation.
His relatives also told the journalists that the signs of torture were visible and, at the trial Urfan requested an expertise but the court denied his demand, as well as other motions of the accused.
Besides the use of torture by the Head of the Ganja police department Adalat Sadigov, mockery and torture of the accused was committed by Orkhan Babayev, an investigator of the Investigative Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.
Then the floor was given to Rauf Bayramov, a resident of Ziyadli village of Samukh district. He was detained on charges of participation in the Ganja events on 23 July 2018. As in this case, after the trial the detainee’s told the Veten ugrunda agency journalists that the arrested people were brought to Nizami police department of Ganja city and subjected to brutal beatings. As a result of beatings “his father started to spit up blood. Electrical current was regularly passed through his entire body, and fingers were clamped in locksmith vises”. Then both of them were transferred to the General Prosecutor’s Office in Baku, where Orkhan Babayev, an investigator, continued to torture the detainees. As a result, Rauf Bayramov could not stand the torture and signed up all requested by the investigator O. Babayev papers.
Rauf Bayramov’s 22-year-old son Huseyn was arrested on 01 September 2018 and subjected to brutal torture, too. According to their relatives, an investigator Orhan Babayev first had threatened to throw Hussein out of the window, and then proceeded with a truncheon beating. The Bayramov’s father and son, were also charged under the Article 21 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic.