Azer Gasimli: "I Will Not Be Surprised if Chovdarov Is Released"

Baku / 10/31/17 / Turan: A loud trial has been completed on the case of the staff of the Ministry of National Security (MNS), which has been disbanded. The head of the security department in energy and transport of the former MNS, General Akif Chovdarov received 12 years in prison with confiscation of property and deprivation of title. He was accused of 10 articles of the Criminal Code, such as kidnapping, extortion through threats, misappropriation, abuse of office, etc. Two more officers of the MNS, Salim Mammadov and Akif Aliyev, were sentenced respectively to 11 and 5 years in prison.

The court decision caused a wide response; many active users of social networks immediately called it soft and unfair, given that opposition members and activists are sentenced to the same terms without proving their "guilt". Chovdarov, who committed a number of serious crimes, got off with 12 years of imprisonment.

Opposition leaders commented on the verdict on Akif Chovdarov for Turan News Agency. A member of the ReAL movement, Azer Gasimli, considers Chovdarov's verdict a political order. "There is no justice in the Azerbaijani courts, as when deciding, the courts are not based on laws, but announce the decision taken at the top. Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov's imprisonment for 10 years for writing graffiti was absurd. Graffiti is not punishable by the laws of the country, and we do not know the laws of which country the court took as a basis, taking such a decision. In any case, this was a political order. The main purpose of condemning activists and opposition members for long prison terms is to intimidate others," Gasimli said.

Concerning the verdict on General Gasimli, he noted that the verdict took into account the will of the authorities of the country. "It's hard to say why he was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment, but this was the decision of the upper ranks. It is possible that Chovdarov was sentenced to the exact date of imprisonment, which is in accordance with the law's requirement. Chovdarov is not a political opponent, or a member of an opposition party, or movement, or opposed to the government in any way. If he was one of these, it is very likely that he would have been sentenced to a much longer term. It is probable that after some time Chovdarov will be released, but deprived of most of the money he had stolen. This is the course of events," Gasimli said.

The head of the Musavat party, Arif Hajili, believes the actions of Akif Chovdarov are widely known to the public. "His actions are a serious crime, but Chovdarov is quite an old man and, as I know, he has health problems. Therefore, the 12 years he was sentenced to are equal to life sentence. I am an advocate of adequate punishment for people who committed a crime. When I was serving my own sentence in prison, there was a young guy who stole 1 manat from a teacher's bag and was sentenced to 9 years in prison under the article of robbery. Of course, in comparison, the verdict on Chovdarov is very mild."

According to the politician, the fate of Chovdarov was decided not only by the court. "Chovdarov belongs to the category of people against whom the court cannot make a decision by itself, therefore it is unquestionable that the verdict was agreed with the supreme authority," Hajili said. -0-

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