Protests in the village of Nardaran. November 26, 2016. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the "Caucasian Knot"

09 January 2019, 19:42

Azerbaijani SC upholds sentence to 12 supporters of "Muslim Unity"

The Supreme Court (SC) of Azerbaijan dismissed an appeal filed against the guilty verdicts to Elchin Gasimov, the deputy chair of the movement "Muslim Unity", and other 11 members of the movement, sentenced in the Nardaran case.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on December 28, 2017, the Baku Court on Grave Crimes sentenced Elchin Gasimov to 15 years of imprisonment.

In November 2015, during the special operation in Nardaran, two law enforcers and five local residents were killed. On January 25, 2017, the court sentenced Talekh Bagirzade, the leader of the "Muslim Unity", and his 17 supporters to 10-20 years of imprisonment. In late 2017, other 12 supporters of the movement, including theologian Zulfugar Mikailov, were sentenced to 12-17 years of imprisonment. Elchin Gasimov and other 11 members of the "Muslim Unity" formed the third group of people also sentenced in the Nardaran case.

According to Fariz Namazly, an advocate of Elchin Gasimov, advocates of all defendants requested the Supreme Court to reconsider the defence arguments. "We paid attention to numerous contradictions in the testimonies given by policemen," said the advocate. Besides, the Court's attention was focused on complaints about torture after detention filed by the defendants and non-admission of advocates to them, Fariz Namazly said.

Repressions against religious activists are needed to intimidate believers, believes Elshan Gasanov, the coordinator of the Union for the freedom of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. "Resonant cases against religious leaders are designed to demonstrate the 'Islamic threat' to the West and serve as an excuse to violate human rights," the rights defender notes.

The special operation held in Nardaran in 2015 marked the beginning of a new round of repression against believers, Elshan Gasanov believes. According to him, the pressure on believers continues in prisons.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 9, 2019 at 04:27 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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