Connect with us

Azerbaijan

CONFLICTING STATEMENTS DURING TRIAL OF AFGAN MUKHTARLI

The Azeri Times

Published

on

At the Balakan District Court, Afgan Mukhtarli’s trial on 28 December started with a scandal. Court officials impeded journalists from filming outside, and then prohibited them from entering the courtroom. People who were allowed into the courtroom had their names recorded.

“I have seven to eight years ahead of me”

Afgan Mukhtarli and his defense lawyers criticized judge Hakim Humbat Salimov for not allowing journalists into the courtroom: “Journalists are left out because they rather let police and people irrelevant to the trial into the courtroom.”

The judge dismissed Mukhtarli’s objection and told him to be quiet, stating they did not have time for such an argument. Mukhtarli responded: “I am prepared for any argument, I have seven or eight years ahead of me.

Defense lawyer Nemat Karimli further objected to the procedure of recording the names of those allowed into the courtroom: “This is being done in order to create problems for these people.” The judge said that it was only a formality and could not be seen as a way of exerting pressure.

Afgan did not sign explanation

The court first heard witness Murad Gasimov, 35, who lives in the Jalilabad District and is the Border Service Troops’ deputy head of the Balakan border post. On the day of the incident, he had been on duty about 5 km away and was notified that a person had been caught while trying to cross the border.

“When I arrived, I saw Afgan Mukhtarli being questioned in the office of the deputy morale officer. There was money on the table. I have forgotten now whether it was dollars or euros but I think it was euros. Afgan would not sign an explanation. I asked him why he had been detained, but he did not answer. I got him water and cigarettes.”

To questions of defense lawyer Nemat Karimli, Gasimov replied with “I do not remember.” He said he did not see any money retrieved from Mukhtarli’s pockets when the journalist was detained, stating he heard about the amount of money on the table from another person, Maj Adil Orujov. Gasimov further said that he saw a large “€” sign on the money, which is how he knew it was euros.

Afgan Mukhtarli accused the witness of lying and explained that the interrogation had taken place in another room. Defense lawyer Nemat Karimli requested the testimony given by Gasimov to be removed from the list of evidence. He argued that someone who did not take part in the detention of the journalist and did not see money retrieved from his pocket, could not be accepted as a witness.

His petition was rejected. “Murad Gasimov saw the money. Therefore, the petition will not be allowed,” the judge said.

Petition rejected

When interrogated by defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov, Gasimov said he did not see any traces of violence on Afgan Mukhtarli’s body.

The journalist said that Azer Shirinov, deputy chief of the State Border Service, was the person who uttered “we have brought the mullah” when he was transferred over the border after having been abducted in Georgia, and that Shirinov was the person who later removed the blindfold from his eyes at the border post.

Defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov asked the witness whether he had seen State Border Service deputy chiefs Azer Shirinov and Jeyhun Gulamov that day. The witness explained that they have inspectors visiting several times every month, but that he had seen neither Azer Shirinov nor Jeyhun Gulamov on that specific day.

Nemat Karimli requested that the witness, who said “I do not remember” in reply to questions, be subjected to an expert examination. This petition was rejected as well.

“After all, I am not supposed to see everything”

Defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov asked another witness, Gafur Mammadov, who is also a victim in this case, whether he had seen if Mukhtarli had been hurt. Mammadov confirmed that his nose was injured. Gasimov, however, said he did not see that the journalist had been injured: “After all, I am not supposed to see everything. I did not see it.”

“I have seen euros on the internet”

Afterwards, Azer Bayramli, who had served as a soldier at the border post, testified as a witness. He said that at about 12:00 pm, his commanders stopped him when he was walking to the bathroom and offered him to be a witness in the case. He explained that he had entered the room together with Adil Orujov, and that Afgan Mukhtarli had been alone:

“We went into the lounge. Afgan was alone. Twenty 500-euro bills, plastic cards and several coins were found on him.” The witness said he did not see any traces of injuries on Mukhtarli.

When asked by defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov whether he has seen euros before, Bayramli replied: “I have seen them on the internet.”

Prosecutor instructs witnesses

When the next witness was invited, judge Humbat Salimov ordered the previous witnesses to be removed from the courtroom. Afgan Mukhtarli objected to the witnesses being removed from the courtroom: “At the previous meeting, the public prosecutor gathered all witnesses during the break to instruct them.” The prosecutor objected to what he said.

Witness Dovlet Haji Khanputayev was next to testify. Khanputayev, who is a technical driver at Balakan border post, said that he went to the scene of the incident when an alarm went off at the border:

“We saw one person crossing the border illegally. We disguised ourselves and waited. When he came closer, we stopped him. He hit Gafur Mammadov with his fist, who fell to the ground.”

The witness said that they captured Afgan Mukhtarli and handed him over, and that they were not present when he was searched. When answering questions asked by the defense lawyer, the witness confirmed that he had seen Azer Shirinov and Jeyhun Gulamov at the scene of the operation.

Khanputayev also said that even though he has a driver’s license, he does not really know how to drive, and that he only carried out orders he received from his section commander. Afgan Mukhtarli remarked: “You see, they openly admit to paying bribes to get their driver’s licenses but don’t even know how to drive a vehicle.”

Nemat Karimli inquired: “If you are a technical driver, why did you go to the scene of the incident when the alarm went off?” The witness replied that he went there because he was afraid of driving.

Khanputayev further said that even though he has been in service for eight years, it was during the operation that he saw the border service chief’s deputies Azer Shirinov and Jeyhun Gulamov for the first time.

Mukhtarli’s request rejected

Afgan Mukhtarli requested to launch a criminal case against Azer Shirinov under Article 144.2.3 of the Criminal Code – premeditated abduction by a group of people or by an organized group.

“Azer Shirinov played a role in my abduction. He is the person who removed the blindfold from my eyes, planted the money in my pocket, used foul language. I want this person to be prosecuted for abduction.”

The prosecutor said that he could not accept the request because there was no evidence to what the journalist said. The request was rejected.

The trial will continue on 5 January.

Investigative journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who lived in Georgia on a residence permit, was arrested in Azerbaijan on 29 May. He says he was detained in Tbilisi, tortured, brought by force to the border and handed over to Azerbaijan. In addition, 10,000 euros were planted in his pocket.

The government of Azerbaijan accuses the journalist of using force against a government representative, endangering their life and health in the line of duty (Article 315.2 of the Criminal Code). He faces up to three years in prison. In addition, he is charged under Article 318.1 – crossing the state border without having relevant documents or crossing the state border bypassing checkpoints, and Article 206.1 – smuggling. Under Article 318.1, he faces a fine up to 3,000 manats or imprisonment for up to two years. Under Article 206.1, he faces up to five years in prison.

International human rights organizations have named him  a political prisoner.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Society

European film festival in Baku: a Dutch cat, a Hungarian horse and a ‘faceless’ French artist

The Azeri Times

Published

on

The 9th European Film Festival has officially begun in Baku.

The event is organised by the European Union in Azerbaijan and will end on 21 October, until which time the public is invited to view 19 European films free of charge.

Here are some of the films we recommend:

The documentary film Wild Amsterdam, accompanied by director Mark Verkerk and producer Ignas van Schaick, will be screened at the festival. The film centres around the animals of Amsterdam, but not in a way you might expect: the story is told from the perspective of a cat, who shows us how squirrels, pigeons and waterfowl live in Amsterdam’s canals and parks.

The directors say that the consultation with ecologists and other specialists took half a year by itself. The film is a viewing wonder, dynamic and modern. For example, one scene depicts the retrieval of bicycles from the bottom of the canal with the help of special machinery. The scene looks as if it has been cut right out of a thriller because of how it traumatises the crabs living on the bottom.

The film Kincsem – Bet on Revenge is from Hungary, and also concerns the fate of an animal – a racehorse who belongs to a broke aristocrat forced to earn money through racing. However, the film is not about horseracing, but rather about competition between members of high-class society in the Austrian Empire. The film’s action revolves around the young aristocrat who becomes involved in a dispute with an Austrian officer, whose daughter later falls for the main character.

Barbara, a film by Christian Petzold, is a drama shot in 2012 which takes viewers back to 1980 when Germany was still divided by the Berlin Wall. The main heroine of the film lives in the German Democratic Republic and dreams of leaving. Forced to work in the country and under constant surveillance, she methodically prepares her plan to escape. At first it seems everything will work out and that nobody can prevent her from leaving, including the all-powerful Stasi. However, an inconvenient and unexpected attachment to one of her colleagues jeopardises her escape.

Latvian film Dream Team 1935 by Aigars Grauba was also shot in 2012 and also offers an excursion into the past – to the pre-war period of 1935 when the first European Basketball Championship took place in Geneva. Participation in the championship was a great chance for national teams to go down in sports history. The Latvian team seizes the opportunity, though young trainer Baumanis soon comes to understand that it is far more important to overcome oneself than one’s enemy…

Halima’s Path is the work of Croatian director Arsen Anton Ostoyich, and is dedicated to one of the bloodiest wars of the second half of the 20th century – the war in former Yugoslavia. The action takes place in the post-war years in Bosnia. A woman by the name of Halima who lost her husband and son (though not biological) dreams of finding their remains in order to give them a proper burial. She is only able to do this with the help of DNA analysis. While she is able to find her husband’s remains, she finds it difficult to do so in the case of her son. Halima must then go through some hardship to find the biological mother of her son in order to find him.

The French film See You Up There is also devoted to war and its consequences. This time, the action takes place during World War I. The story begins in the final days of the war, when two young soldiers – an artist from a wealthy family, Edouard, and a former bank employee, Albert – are forced to go to their certain deaths on the orders of a malicious captain. Edouard, whose face has been disfigured, saves Albert, which firmly binds the two friends together: now Edouard is an ‘invisible’ artist, and Albert his impresario.

In addition to film screenings, the festival includes workshops and discussions with European directors.

Continue Reading

Religion

Azerbaijani mullahs given cars by the state

The Azeri Times

Published

on

Fourteen mullahs have received Khazar SDs, locally made cars, as a gift from the state in Azerbaijan.

Seven more will receive the same gift in November. According to the deputy chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, Sayyad Aran, the gifts were given to some of the country’s most authoritative and respected religious figures.

However, the executive director of the Foundation for the Promotion of Cultural Values, Mehman Ismailov, saysthe vehicles are meant to improve the material and technical base of religious communities, that is, it is not a gift to them personally, but to help them in their work.

The keys to the automobiles were only given to men, despite the fact that there are female religious figures in the country. However, Aran says only a few of them have official status.

This has already happened before in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Four local mullahs received NAZ Lifan 330s.

This case has caused a mixed reaction among the public.

For example, economist Natiq Jafarli says that such “generosity” from the state violates not only ethical norms, but also the principle of the separation of church and state. Moreover, Jafarli says, this poses a serious danger to Azerbaijan, since religious people, seeing the closeness of religious figures to the state, may lose confidence in them, move away from them and start looking for spiritual leaders in other countries.

Theologian and journalist Rasul Mirhashimli disagrees with him. In his opinion, such a gift is not fraught with any problems: “These religious figures will continue to work in the same way as they did before receiving these gifts.”

Continue Reading

Azerbaijan

Deadly bus accident most discussed topic of the week in Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

Published

on

Two people died and forty were injured earlier this week when a bus crashed into a freight train at a railway crossing. The incident occurred in one of Baku’s suburbs.

The accident has been discussed all week by the public, who were shocked to hear that a public transport worker was at fault. Apparently, the bus driver did not apply the brakes while approaching the railway crossing nor did he notice the train as it bore down on him.

As a result, the bus driver, Alikhan Shiraliyev, and the bus company’s dispatcher, Mubariz Farajev, have been arrested.

Shiraliyev was arrested for not undergoing a medical examination before heading out on the bus, while the dispatcher was taken into custody for allowing him to do so.

A number of rumors arose during the investigation. One version of events goes that the bus driver was a former convict who was under the influence of drugs when the accident occurred. Another rumor says that the mother of a boy who was killed in the crash had committed suicide. However, the boy’s relatives have denied this rumor.

Around 750 people died in car and transportation-related accidents in 2017 in Azerbaijan.

Facebook users have been discussing the transport sector as a whole in Azerbaijan, noting that drivers often ignore the rules of the road and do not ensure the safety of their passengers:

“I wonder how many more of these accidents and deaths we need for the city authorities to seriously take care of issues in municipal transport – specifically, lawlessness.”

“None of the passengers support you if you mention an issue to the driver. People don’t even have the elementary instinct of self-preservation. In this case, the driver is of course guilty. But the passengers themselves are also responsible.”

“Of course the train tracks shouldn’t have been laid right here – right in the middle of the street! Those who built the tracks are guilty.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Typhoon Mangkhut: Deadly Storm Nears Hong Kong and China’s Coast
World4 weeks ago

Typhoon Mangkhut: Deadly Storm Nears Hong Kong and China’s Coast

Gunman opens fire, injuring three people before he’s shot by police at Middleton office building
Politics4 weeks ago

Gunman opens fire, injuring three people before he’s shot by police at Middleton office building

Trump Says Accusations Against Kavanaugh Are Unfair
Politics4 weeks ago

Trump Says Accusations Against Kavanaugh Are Unfair

Scientists Just Found the Guys Who Are Killing Africa’s Elephants
Science4 weeks ago

Scientists Just Found the Guys Who Are Killing Africa’s Elephants

Maine restaurant sedating lobsters with marijuana to ease the pain of cooking
Politics4 weeks ago

Maine restaurant sedating lobsters with marijuana to ease the pain of cooking

Video4 weeks ago

This Titans fake punt touchdown is a thing of beauty

Scientists Find Real-Life Version Of ‘Star Trek’ Planet Vulcan
Science4 weeks ago

Scientists Find Real-Life Version Of ‘Star Trek’ Planet Vulcan

Rivers keep rising in Carolinas as Trump tours Florence ‘nightmare’ aftermath
Politics4 weeks ago

Rivers keep rising in Carolinas as Trump tours Florence ‘nightmare’ aftermath

Azerbaijan4 weeks ago

Opposition activist sentenced to 6 years in Azerbaijan

Satellite uses giant net to practice capturing space junk
Science4 weeks ago

Satellite uses giant net to practice capturing space junk

Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: T-Wolves Star Requests Deal, Gives Shortlist of Teams
Politics4 weeks ago

Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: T-Wolves Star Requests Deal, Gives Shortlist of Teams

Texans coach Bill O’Brien rips superintendent for racist remark on QB Deshaun Watson
Sport4 weeks ago

Texans coach Bill O’Brien rips superintendent for racist remark on QB Deshaun Watson

People Got So Mad About This ‘Sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale Costume That the Company Is No Longer Selling It
Politics3 weeks ago

People Got So Mad About This ‘Sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale Costume That the Company Is No Longer Selling It

Doctor, Girlfriend Accused Of Drugging And Raping 2 Women — And Maybe Many More
Politics4 weeks ago

Doctor, Girlfriend Accused Of Drugging And Raping 2 Women — And Maybe Many More

UCF freshman linebacker suspended indefinitely following arrest on sexual battery charge
Sport4 weeks ago

UCF freshman linebacker suspended indefinitely following arrest on sexual battery charge

The Search for Icy Giants on a Dwarf Planet
Science4 weeks ago

The Search for Icy Giants on a Dwarf Planet

Five-Star Josiah James Picks Tennessee Over Duke, Clemson in Major Get for Rick Barnes
Sport4 weeks ago

Five-Star Josiah James Picks Tennessee Over Duke, Clemson in Major Get for Rick Barnes

NFL Rumors: Patriots Re-Sign Cyrus Jones Off Ravens’ Practice Squad
Sport4 weeks ago

NFL Rumors: Patriots Re-Sign Cyrus Jones Off Ravens’ Practice Squad

Trending

© Azeri Times - All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the site's materials is permitted only with a mandatory reference to www.azeritimes.com. Email: info@azeritimes.com