The trial of Bakhtiar Hajiyev begins. He was charged under 8 articles of the Criminal Code
The trial of Bakhtiar Hajiyev commences, with him facing charges under eight different articles of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code. The preliminary investigation into the case of the human rights advocate concluded on November 13. The charges leveled against Hajiyev encompass a range of offenses, including illegal entrepreneurship (Article 192.1), money laundering (Article 193-1.3.2), smuggling (Article 206.1), tax evasion (Article 213.1), hooliganism associated with resistance to a representative of the authorities (Article 221.2.2), contempt of court (Article 289.1), forgery or illegal manufacture of official documents (Article 320.1), and the use of deliberately forged documents (Article 320.2).
Hajiyev vehemently denies all these charges and asserts that they are fabricated. Following the review of the case materials by Bakhtiar Hajiyev and his legal team, the case will be forwarded to the Baku Court for Serious Crimes. If convicted, Hajiyev could face a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.
Human rights activist Rufat Safarov provides his insights into the motives behind the authorities' persecution of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev in the "Difficult Difficult Question" program. According to Safarov, the charges against Hajiyev have evolved over the course of a year, progressing through stages with distinct political implications.
Initially, Hajiyev was detained in December of the previous year and accused of contempt of court. Subsequently, he faced allegations of hooliganism, followed by charges related to economic crimes, including illegal entrepreneurship, money laundering, and smuggling. Finally, shortly before the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, a new charge of tax evasion emerged.
Safarov also highlights the moral and psychological pressure that Hajiyev has endured during this period. He describes the treatment as exceptionally harsh, involving the exposure of Hajiyev's private life and correspondence.
Safarov believes that this severe treatment stems from Hajiyev's active involvement in the application of sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against Kerim Alimardanov, a police officer known for his brutality towards government critics. Alimardanov has been accused of personally employing physical violence against dissidents and those who criticize the authorities.