During the hearing on the case against the chair of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDSC), Anar Mammadov, executive director of EMDSC, Bashir Suleymanli, and the president of the Volunteers International Cooperation Public Union, Elnur Mammadov, continued at the Court of Grave Crimes on May 15, the prosecutor Anar Tanriverdiyev’s speech was interrupted when one of the judges Shakar Mammadova reported to not feel well.
When the hearing continued after a short break, Mr. Tanriverdiyev himself admitted to feeling sick five minutes into his speech. The judge Rauf Aliyev postponed the hearing to May 21 citing the overwhelming weather conditions.
UPDATE May 14, Baku
On May 14, the hearing of the case against the chair of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDSC), Anar Mammadov, executive director of EMDSC, Bashir Suleymanli, and the president of the Volunteers International Cooperation Public Union, Elnur Mammadov, continued at the Court of Grave Crimes chaired by judge Rauf Aliyev. All three are charged with Article 5 of Criminal Code – tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, abuse of power, large-scale misappropriation of property and malpractice. A criminal case was opened in late October of last year. Mr. Mammadli was arrested on December 17, and the other two men were obliged not to leave the country.
Mr. Mammadli said that during the hearing he first testified as a witness, and later as a defendant: “At the first stage of the investigation they looked into the monitoring results of the presidential elections held on October 9, 2013, and asked how much it affected our donor’s, U.S. National Democratic Institute observer mission’s final report. We have conducted an objective monitoring, as we wanted fair elections to be held.”
As per the substance of the charges, Mr. Mammadli said that after EMDSC’s registration was canceled, he and other NGO members had to carry out the financial transactions on individual basis.
Therefore, Mr. Mammadli regarded the Ministry of Justice’s refusal to register EMDSC to be a political discrimination.
Mr. Mammadli called the charges on illegal entrepreneurship to be groundless, since all the grant related transactions were carried out on basis of official payments. Mr. Mammadli himself paid 12 thousands manats in taxes for the time period of 2006-13, and has never been notified by the tax authorities before. Everything was transparent – EMDSC staff as well as regional partners were officially employed and had tax registration numbers.
Amendment to the law made on March 11, 2013 was the reason why EMDSC partnered with VICPU on the 2013 presidential elections project. As per the amendment the NGO that doesn’t have a state registration has to partner with the one that does, in order to proceed with the projects.
He believes the act to enforce the verification of financial activities of both VICPU and EMDSC is groundless, as “it is unclear what document was the basis of investigation, as neither desk audit nor onsite inspections were carried out.”
The trial will continue at 2:30 p.m. on May 15.
May 13, Baku
On May 13, the hearing of the case against the chair of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDSC), Anar Mammadov, executive director of EMDSC, Bashir Suleymanli, and the president of the Volunteers International Cooperation Public Union, Elnur Mammadov, was held at the Court of Grave Crimes chaired by judge Rauf Aliyev.
The defense lawyer Irada Javadova confirmed to Meydan TV that the testimonies of witnesses have been completed. The defendants will testify on May 14 and Mr. Mammadov will comment on the indictment.
“The hearing is about to come to an end,” said Ms. Javadova.
The lawyer said that the testimonies of the witnesses and victims are in favor of the defendants. Only one out of twenty actually considered himself a victim. However, during the process he failed to reasonably justify his victimhood. The witnesses in their testimonies repeatedly stated that the organization has not violated any laws: “In fact, even the prosecutors know there were no serious violations. However, their bias investigation was obvious during the hearing.”
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