Мурад Абдуллаев

Мурад Абдуллаев

Baku/06.03.23/Turin: Religious activist Murad Abdullayev, arrested on charges of large-scale drug trafficking, has complained about detention conditions in Baku SIZO-1 and falsification of charges against him.

Activist's sister Arzu Abdullayeva told Turin news agency that her brother was arrested on 9 March and taken to Yasamal police department 27.

Note that his relatives were initially told by the police that Abdullayev would be arrested under a "light article" as a "drug user" and would be released after a year.

However, three days later it turned out that Abdullayev had been charged under Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking on a large scale) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan and faced between 5 and 12 years' imprisonment.

А. Abdullayeva stated that the charges were falsified.

"What kind of "drug lord" is my brother, if during the arrest he had three cigarettes and money in change in his pocket? He had been working all day to feed his family," said the arrested person's sister, adding that Abdullayev had been planted with drugs.

She believes that Abdullayev was arrested because he was a religious activist and attended trials of believers, theologians and members of the Muslim Unity Movement, although he himself was not a member of the organisation.

According to her, Abdullayev is currently detained in Baku SIZO-1.

"The conditions of my brother's detention there are harsh. Eighteen people are held in a cell designed for 6-7 people. It is constantly noisy and crowded. Water is given only 1 hour a day; this creates additional suffering for a person performing namaz.  This is very bad for the health of my brother, who suffers from an acute form of neurosis. We have repeatedly asked to transfer Murad to a more suitable cell, but in vain," Abdullayeva said.

She also stressed the restriction of the arrested person's rights in the pre-trial detention facility.

"He is allowed to make a phone call once a week and that for 3-4 minutes. Although under the law he has the right to phone twice a week for 15 minutes. Meetings are given once a week, but instead of the required 1 hour only 20 minutes, and communication is carried out through a glass partition," said Abdullayeva.

Abdullayeva's lawyer Zubeyda Sadyigova told Turin that investigators found 30 grams of heroin in the possession of her client.

At the same time Sadygova questioned the credibility of the charges.

"Now I have about 10 defendants-believers arrested recently under Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking on a large scale) of the Criminal Code. Believers are "found" with 30, 40, 50 grams or more of drugs. As a rule, the decisions to prosecute say that the detention was based on "operational information". At the same time, it is noted that the suspects "said" that they "found the drugs on the street" and "decided to sell them". However, it is doubtful that such an expensive drug as heroin would be lying on the street. On the other hand, the detention takes place "the day after" the suspect "found" the drugs. How 'promptly' law enforcement sources find out about the person's possession of drugs and have time to inform the police," said Sadygova.

She noted that the defence asked for Abdullayev to be placed under house arrest. However, the court on May 3 rejected the request, and the defence appealed against the ruling.

The Interior Ministry and the Penitentiary Service could not be reached for comment.

Abdullayev was included in the list of political prisoners released by the Union for Freedom of Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan on 20 April.

According to human rights activists, at least 89 believers were arrested in Azerbaijan in February-March on politically motivated charges of drug trafficking.-06В-

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