On January 4, the testimony of witnesses was finished at the trial of the deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party Gezal Bayramli, after which the accused herself spoke.
Bayramli said that her arrest was planned, and in this operation, along with the employees of the State Border Service, special services also took part. And the arrest itself was coordinated with the political leadership of the country.
The arrest was prepared long ago, she noted, recalling that as early as in October 2016 she was summoned to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and warned that if she did not stop “anti-state crimes,” she would be arrested.
According to Bayramli, she was threatened with arrest for protecting political prisoners arrested in the Nardaran events of 2015.
After that, telephone threats began to arrive at Bayramli from some open number. She appealed to law enforcement agencies, but the case was not investigated.
Bayramli noted that the position of the government in relation to her became tougher even after the 2010 parliamentary elections. In those elections, being a candidate for MP, she spoke at the televised debates with the executive secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmedov, accusing his government of lying. Therefore, she regards her arrest as a “revenge of the authorities”.
Before the last May trip to Georgia, the pro-government media published false reports that she allegedly met with the journalist Afgan Mukhtarly and other persons in Georgia and with representatives of international organizations and received money to finance the opposition. She also said that during the last trip she noticed surveillance.
On May 25, when she returned from Georgia on passport control, she was stopped and forced to wait, saying “about problems in the system.” Then they said that “the system was working” and invited her to control, during which “problems with her passport” suddenly appeared and she was taken to the chief’s office.
She was led along a narrow, dark corridor and someone took her arm, saying: “I will help you” and Bayramli felt at that moment that this person put something in her luggage. After that, he suddenly sharply said that he had to return and go through customs control. At this point, she managed to call Ali Kerimli (leader of the Popular Front Party) and say that something was put in her bag. “When my things were conducted through control, the customs officer Alida Azizova said there was 12 thousand dollars there. I asked her how she knew the amount, if the money had not been recounted yet,” Bayramli said.
Bayramli also indicated that her case was the personal control of Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov and his first deputy Rustam Usubov.
“If the prosecutor’s office is so concerned about legality, then why do not they supervise the looting of the country’s oil wealth and the withdrawal of billions from the country?” she said.
Then Bayramli, addressing activists in the hall, said she was ready to serve a maximum term, but no punishment would keep her from political struggle.
The next court session is scheduled for January 10.
- Bayramli was detained on May 25 at a border checkpoint upon her return from Georgia. A criminal case was opened against her in accordance with Article 206.1 (smuggling) of the Criminal Code and the court arrested her.
According to the investigation, during the inspection of Bayramli”s baggage 12 thousand dollars, which she allegedly did not declare, was found.
Bayramli said the money was put into her luggage, and her arrest was of a customized political nature. She also stated that she went to Georgia for treatment and for the last two years she underwent surgery there.