The case of the murder of Rafik Tagi: “Not only  the investigator who conducted the case, but also by Zakir Garalov, who personally supervised the case are responsible”

November 23 was the Commemoration Day of the writer-publicist Rafik Tagi; 11 years have passed since he was killed.

On November 19, 2011, Rafik Tagi was attacked and killed near his home as he was returning home from work in the evening. The killer stabbed him multiple times in the back.

On November 23, 2011,  Rafik Tagi was brought to hospital in a serious  state, but a few days  later, after his  health improved,  he suddenly and mysteriously died. By the way, November 23 is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists around the World. The fact that Rafik Tagi passed away on that very day only adds to the suspicion. Despite  11 years have passed since the murder, the murderer or murderers who committed this crime have not yet been found.

Lawyer Rashid Hajily answers ASTNA's questions in connection with the death of Rafik Tagi.

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Question: Why was not this crime solved?

Answer: I'll start with the events of recent days. In Georgia, the country's security agencies uncovered and prevented an impending crime. They learned  that  by  the order from Iran, a businessman who played an important role in Israeli-Georgian relations, was to be killed. The reason for the disclosure of the prepared murder was the delay in the execution of the order. The Pakistani citizen who was supposed to carry out the murder refrained from killing his victim with a knife, said he could not, and asked for a gun. Upon receipt and delivery of the gun, the case was disclosed. As can be seen, the assignment of such work was entrusted to non-professionals and a knife was used to complete it. Professionals and firearms are expensive, plus they leave a lot of marks. This allows for many possibilities for interpretation.

In the case of Rafik Tagi, it is clear that the killer was not a professional, he was in a hurry, he was afraid, he did not wield a knife. All these circumstances allow us to say that the murder was not the work of the secret services and to interpret what happened differently. Most likely, the killer is an ordinary believer who was convinced that he would do a sawab (a charitable deed - approx. Ed.). There is a fatwa (a decision on any issue made by a mujtahid (a high-ranking faqih (Islamic theologian), based on the principles of Islam and on precedents Muslim jurisprudence - ed.) This is a person who has never committed a crime and will never do it after that. Perhaps he will even leave the country.

In addition, can't there be people in the country who work in government institutions and even in the secret services and are connected with the Iranian secret services? For example, the Department of National Security. It had not yet been abolished, it was then that significant crimes were committed. Surveillance, operations, agents were involved precisely in the commission of these solved and unsolved crimes. What efficiency can be expected from them?

So is the prosecutor's office. True, the then Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov himself controlled the course of the investigation. The country's president also announced that he was keeping the matter under his control. But, at least, the facts that we have related to the course of the investigation give grounds to assert that in spite of all this, there was no particularly noticeable zeal, no enthusiasm, no diligence in the investigation. On the contrary, there were slowness, slipshod work, sometimes incompetence, and sometimes extreme indifference. Responsibility for this lies not only with the investigator who conducted the case, but also with Zakir Garalov, who said that he personally supervised this case.

Question: Can it be said that the authorities were not interested in solving this case, since the crime was not solved?

Answer: There are no convincing grounds to say that the political authorities are not interested in solving this case. The authorities might not want to solve this case to the end only for reasons related to Iran. But the issue could be opened without even linking it to Iran, or opened up to a certain limit. In any case, the non-disclosure of the issue put the authorities in a bad position. For this reason, even today all questions and some suspicions are addressed to the authorities. There are even rumors that this crime was committed by the functionaries of the liquidated Ministry of National Security in order to create chaos and tension in the country. That is, as we see, the government, having failed to solve this crime, shared its burden with the murderers and customers.

Question: Iran was the most suspect in the assassination of the publicist. But even during the period of aggravation of relations with Iran, when both sides went on a “hunt for spies” in their countries, for some reason they don’t remember this. Why do you think?

Answer: Perhaps there are those who, against the backdrop of relations with Iran, are thinking about resuming the investigation of this crime. Based on some newly discovered circumstances, it is possible to reopen the case. Moreover, this is also required by the execution of the decision of the European Court that has just entered into force in this case. According to  the decision of the European Court, the investigation into the murder of Rafik Tagi had been ineffective. The investigation began 11 years ago, in November 2011. After 2 years, the case was suspended due to the inability to identify the killer. All these years, despite the countless demands of the family of Rafik Tagi and the lawyer, the collected materials are not handed over to them. This is a serious violation. This is the concealment of case materials from the plaintiff, from the victim. And they can't explain why.

Question: What needs to be done to find the killers of Rafik Tagi?

Answer: Exactly familiarization with the materials of the case can reveal the "mastery" of the prosecutor's office in all its nakedness. It may also shed light on the reason for the late inspection of the scene, the receipt of video footage from the multiple surveillance cameras installed at the scene, the date the footage was obtained, and how it was studied. What kind of exchange was there with the Anti-Terrorist Directorate of the Ministry of National Security, and if not, then why?

Disclosure of the case materials can reveal the quality of the work of the prosecutor's office, anti-terrorist agencies and operatives, even in high-profile cases. And this is very important. They must find the killer and those who ordered the murder of Rafik Tagi. Will they be able to find?

I have no doubt that they will be able, if they are professionals, knowledgeable, not indifferent, to treat the state with respect.

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