People who were injured by the case of generals and colonels of the Ministry of National Security (MNS) held a protest in front of the country house of former minister Eldar Mahmudov.
The victims, who said that they were illegally arrested on false charges and were released from prison after receiving a large amount of money from their relatives, demand compensation for the damage caused to them.
Former National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov’s country house is located in Nardaran region. When the protesting citizens got there, a large number of police officers was already gathered in front of the garden house of the former minister.
Protesters showed slogans such as “Return the money you took from our families under threat!”, “Don’t show force to the Azerbaijani state, return our money!”, “Even the doomsday will not cover your crime against us!” in their placards.
Those who took part in the protest affirm that the ones brought before the court so far are only executors of the crimes. They believe bigger public figures are behind them. The protesters named Eldar Mahmudov, former Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov and first deputy Rustam Usubov as the masterminds of the scheme and claimed that a large part of the money received from the scheme went to them. The victims also demanded their arrest.
Currently, the trial of General Movlam Shikhaliyev, who headed the Main Investigation Department of the Ministry of National Security for many years, and three colonels who worked under him – department heads Yasin Mammadov, Vusal Alakbarov, as well as Sahib Alakbarov, deputy head of the methodical assistance and criminalistics department, are being tried at the Baku Military Court.
Movlam Shikhaliyev, who has been in prison since April 2021, is accused of accepting bribes totaling over 14 million AZN, extorting around 5 million AZN from others, as well as exceeding the limits of authority and falsifying evidence, together with other accused persons.
Only the general is in prison among the accused former members of the National Security Service, while the other three people have restraining orders.
The scandal known in Azerbaijan as the ‘MNS case’ happened between 2014 and 2015, when a corruption and blackmail scheme was uncovered at the Ministry of National Security. Generals were sentenced with abuse of power and for acting as an organized group, causing psychological and physical harm by detaining people, demanding a large sum of money in exchange for releasing them, threatening their relatives with violence, arrest, and releasing embarrassing information about them.
Two months after the operation, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the establishment of the State Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service, effectively disbanding the MNS as a body. However, it is believed that the group was not completely dismantled and continues to act in a similar manner in the country.