NIDA activists are gassed (UPDATED)

On completion of  today's trial in the case of NIDA Movement activists, the  members of this youth organization  were tortured  by tear gas. According to Ulvi Hasanli, a   member of the Board  of this organization,  when activists  were convoyed  to jail, the health of Zaur Gurbanly, who suffers from thalassemia, worsened. His friends began to knock at the door, demanding to open the window, but in response to the guards threw the car  in which the detainees were transported a stick with tear gas.  Gurbanly  health deteriorated further,  and  other detainees’ eyes  were damaged. -03В-

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2014 April 01 (Tuesday) 14:33:17

Baku/01.04.14/Turan : In the Baku Court of Grave Crimes on April 1 the trial continued of seven activists of NIDA and a member of the organization "Free Youth",  Ilkin Rustamzade .

The meeting began with the  lawyer Nemat Kerimli requesting  a forensic medical examination of the accused Shahin Novruzlu, who after his detention in MNB had 4 of his teeth knocked out.

Kerimli also pointed out the illegality in Novruzlu’s charges involving an organized criminal group, as he did not know anyone of the accused before his arrest.

The judge granted the first meeting after the application, but rejected the second one.

Further, there was the testimony of the accused ??Mamed Azizov.

He reported that he joined the movement NIDA in summer 2012. In November he created together with other accused Bakhtiyar Guliyev a Facebook page entitled Heydar Aliyev.

The purpose of the page was to dispel fear in society. "We made fun of those who did fear-mongering in society and called the page Heydar Aliyev because all still bears his name in Azerbaijan," said Aziz sarcastically. After they created the page, they were subjected to constant threats.

Azizov was detained on Fountain Square and taken to a safe place where they allegedly found drugs on March 7. "The drugs were planted by MNS," said Azizov.

At the apartment Azizov was taken to by MNS, he saw Bakhtiyar Guliyev arrested in the hallway. Under psychological pressure, he signed a paper that he had been given by the investigators.

"All night I could hear the screams of people being beaten. I thought they had beaten Bakhtiyar. When I was led out of the chamber for questioning I had a black bag put on my head, and one of the people accompanying me said: "Maybe we take him to the basement ?" said Azizov.

Under pressure, he made a confession , which was videotaped and shown on TV.

However, on  March 15 confrontation with other accused, Rashad Hasanov, Azizov refused to testify. After that, he was severely beaten by two officers named Azer and Mamay. Azizov was threatened to "be put on the bottle," if he did not testify against Hasanov. But this time he was not broken.

From the beatings Azizov lost hearing in his left ear and could not walk for a week. He called ignorant statements by investigators, who wanted the arrested to confess repeating the Arab revolution and using the "Molotov cocktails".

Azizov also pointed out that accusing him of using drugs, the investigation has not submitted him to drug testing.

In conclusion Azizov said that the criminal case against the activists of NIDA was fabricated to punish them for their civic activities and to intimidate the rest of the youth.

 The defendant Rashad Hasanov,  rejected the allegation that he called the meetings of NIDA to repeat the Arab spring in Azerbaijan. He also refuted the fact that on February 28 in  Cafe Venice he had a meeting, at which he allegedly decided to organize a riot during a protest on March 10. He noted that the movement NIDA decided to hold a rally in consultation with the authorities and on 10 March there was no disorder.

The accused Ilkin Rustamzade said that the investigator named Mehdi persuaded him to cooperate and claimed that Hasanov was recruited by the CIA and tried to get confirmation that in 2009 in New York, Hasanov met with members of the CIA , and in 2012 in Baku with two colonels of CIA. This caused laughter.

Hasanov said that he had visited the U.S., but no contact with the CIA ever took place.

In Baku, he had been in meetings at the U.S. Embassy, in the presence of other members of the Azerbaijani side.

After the detention on 14 March 2013, the investigators were interested in the cooperation of NIDA with the National Democratic Institute and their representative in Baku, Alex Grigorievs.

In conclusion, Hasanov said he did not ask for mercy and was ready to be punished if there is a proof of his guilt. The next meeting will be held on April 3. -06C-

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