The case is under control

However, the lawyers of the arrested youth activists are concerned about this “control”.

Tuesday, 14.07.2009
R Gabiboglu, Zerkalo

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan and the Office of Public Prosecutor have already “found out” all details of the incident related to the arrest of youth activists Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and publicised the names of perpetrators. Saturday afternoon, these two departments issued a joint statement defending the hooligans who had beaten two youth activists.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on the 9th of July at 6pm Hajizada and Milli, being drunk, acted like hooligans in “Lebanese” restaurant. "When Vusal Mamedov and Babek Guseynov called them to order, Hajizada and Abdullayev attacked them with clinched fists, having committed the act of hooliganism,” the statement says.

It is further stated that the arrived police have detained Hajizada and Abdullayev, while their four friends managed to escape. The detainees had allegedly been brought to the police station No9. Hajizada was recorded as being moderately inebriated and Orkhan Gafarli – as being lightly inebriated. As for Vusal Mamedov and Babek Guseynov, they were recorded as being clear-headed.

According to the Ministry, the two latter got traumas, and one of them suffered from concussion and was placed in the hospital.
In the course of investigation Mamedov and Guseynov were announced as victims. The witness Orkhan Gafarli gave evidence, and measures are being taken to find other people who dined in the restaurant with them. “The case is under control,” the authors of the statement assure.

The lawyer Isakhan Ashurov called this statement ludicrous. “Adnan had half a bottle of beer but it has nothing to do with what happened.” It’s a lie, says Ashurov, that the police detained them in the restaurant – the guys came to the police station No 9 themselves.

Commenting on the decision of the Sabail court, Ashurov told Turan agency that both Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli can be kept in prison longer than two months – theoretically they can be sentenced up to 5 years of imprisonment.

"Two months is the term when the investigation will be carried out. According to the procedure, upon expiry of two-month period the case will be brought back to court which will announce the final sentence,” said the lawyer.

Commenting on the course of investigation, Ashurov said it was a gross violation of the Constitution of Azerbaijan and European Convention on Human Rights. “It was arbitrariness and violation of all legal norms. In particular, Adnan and Emin’s complaint is missing from the records. How could the document written by Adnan and Emin disappear?”
Ashurov firmly believes that the case has been planned and fabricated.

How could it happen that those who were beaten got arrested and those who attacked got released?

"I am afraid that there will be no other witnesses but the policemen and no one will confirm that Adnan and Emin didn’t beat anybody,” Ashurov states.

The fact that it was a planned provocation against Adnan and Emin is supported by no medical aid rendered so far to the young people. Moreover, they were handcuffed, which is a clear breach of international conventions banning inhuman treatment of detainees. “Those who arranged it either do not understand what they are doing or do not think about the consequences of their actions,” Ashurov stressed.

When asked about the court’s reaction, Ashurov said that the judge had ignored all these violations and taken no consideration of the arguments brought forward by the lawyers. Moreover, the judge took an illegal decision to announce the court sitting as the closed one.

"The organization which planned and executed this provocation, wanted to punish the kids and make a present to Adnan whose birthday was on the 13th of July. But the guys are not broken – both kept themselves with dignity at the court. Adnan’s only concern was the condition of his parents. He asked me to tell them not to worry,” the lawyer said.

The following day after the court session, a coordination group has been established to defend the rights of Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada. The group, led by Erkin Gadirli, the known lawyer, had its first press-conference yesterday.

The Committee on human right protection of youth activists and bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli will be holding weekly press-conferences, Anar Mamedli, the Committee member and head of the Election Monitoring Center, said on Monday. Actions to support Adnan and Emin will continue until they both are free, said Anar.

Erkin Gadirli stated that the decision to arrest youth activists had been asked for and was of political nature. "This lowers the chances of positive response to appeal,” he noted. Gadirli also called the statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as “disgraceful.”

The lawyer said that the authorities have now targeted Internet and will chase all politically active bloggers.

Co-founder of civil group REAL Ilgar Mamedov thinks that the aim of the arrest is to frighten activists. The authorities always act like this on the eve of elections.

Ramin Gadjili, one of the coordinators of the protection of youth activists’ rights, is sure that the reason of the arrest was a clip about a donkey, made and put on the web by Adnan Hajizada. "But we will not let them scare us, and the web activities of our friends and colleagues will continue,” Gajili said.

The young people, referred to as escapees in the statement of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, also took part in the press-conference. They said they had not escaped and were ready to give evidence.

The lawyer Isakhan Ashurov said he had submitted an appeal on Monday. The appeal should be considered by the court till the end of the week. The appeal contains the request to revoke the arrest decision and perform an open court sitting with the use of video materials.

“Their arrest is absolutely groundless, but I doubt that the verdict will be fair, taking into account the nature of the case,” the lawyer said.

On Monday the lawyer Elton Guliyev visited Emin Milli, the coordinator of the Alumni Network and blogger, who is kept in the detention cell of the Baku Police Department.

The lawyer told Turan agency that the conditions in which Emin is kept are satisfactory, he was rendered medical aid and has no complaints as to the way he is being treated.

On Tuesday the lawyer will send an appeal against the decision of the Sabail Court that sentenced Hajizada and Milli to two months detention, accusing them in hooliganism.

International organization on fight for press freedom – “Reporters without Borders” – condemned the decision of Rauf Akhmedov, the Sabail court judge, to arrest Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli and sentence them to two-month pre-trial detention.

"The judge should re-consider the case immediately,” the statement of the organization says.

“This is very typical towards the government opponents. The guys were not allowed to talk with their lawyers, and all accusations towards them are groundless. We are concerned about their health conditions and demand their immediate release,” the statement further says.

The statement also mentions Hajizada’s broken nose and Milli’s injured leg. Azerbaijan authorities have also ignored the request of Gunter Nooke, German ombudsman, who wanted to see the detainees, as well as the requests of German Ambassadot Per Stankina and US Embassy official Dmitry Dorokhovsky.

On Saturday the US Embassy condemned the arrest of Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli. According the US Embassy statement, Adnan and Emin were attacked and beaten by unknown people, but were detained, while those who attacked and beat them were released. “We are concerned with the reports that their lawyers were not allowed to see them and that no required medical aid was rendered.”

These questions were brought forward before the Azerbaijan authorities and law reinforcement bodies.

“We will continue working in this direction and call for the Azerbaijan authorities to provide necessary legal and medical assistance to Hajizada and Milli. We also call for the Azerbaijan authorities to respect the rights of their citizens,” the statement says.

It should be noted that Emin Milli is the head of the Alumni Network and one of the founders of Internet TV (ANTV). Adnan Hajizada is the co-founder of the OL! Youth Movement.

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