Ragim Gaziev. Photo: YouTube / kanal13.TV

14 August 2020, 15:58

Court leaves Ragim Gaziev, Azerbaijani ex-Minister of Defence, in custody

The Sabail District Court of Baku has rejected the petition to transfer Ragim Gaziev, a former head of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence (MoD), to house arrest. Human rights defenders insist that Gaziev's arrest was unlawful, and that there were political reasons for persecuting him.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Gaziev is accused of activities against the state and calls for the seizure of state bodies. According to the State Security Service (SSS) of Azerbaijan, during the aggravation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, Gaziev spread false information on the events of July 12-13 in social networks.

The defence asked to transfer the 78-year-old Ragim Gaziev to house arrest due to his old age, health problems and lack of intention to evade the investigation, Rakhab Gaziev, Ragim's brother, has stated.

Rufat Safarov, the executive director of the human rights organization "Defence Line", has doubted the truthfulness of the proofs of Gaziev's guilt.

"The indictment is based on Gaziev's statements in social networks ... but this fits into the freedom of expression guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms. Gaziev is known as a harsh critic of the authorities; and there is reason to believe that he is persecuted for political reasons," Mr Safarov has stated.

Ragim Gaziev headed the Azerbaijani MoD in 1992-1993. In the fall of 1993, he was arrested in connection with the "occupation of the cities of Shusha and Lachin in Nagorno-Karabakh by the Armenian troops in May 1992." In September 1994, Gaziev escaped from the isolation facility and was hiding in Russia until 1996. In 1995, he was sentenced in absentia to death; later, the verdict was replaced for life imprisonment.

Elshan Gasanov, the head of the Centre for Monitoring Political Prisoners, also sees political motives in Gaziev's case.

The Union "For Freedom of Azerbaijan Political Prisoners" has included Gaziev into the list of political prisoners.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 14, 2020 at 10:53 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondent

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