NIDA youth movement
Date of arrest — 12 August 2016
Charge (article of the Criminal Code) –
234.1 – Narcotics (Illegal purchase or storage of drugs exceeding the consumption limit with no intention to sell).
Penal facility – Prison No. 14
Case summary – Upon completion of his studies in Turkey and his return to the country, the youth activist saw the socio-political affairs, human rights, and regional concerns of south Azerbaijan and Eastern Turkestan as national issues and took an active part in rallies and conferences. Since 2015, he has been a member of NIDA civic movement and was a candidate of the movement at parliamentary elections of November 2015. On his Facebook profile, the youth activist strongly criticized one of the proposed changes to the Constitution that implied removal of age limit for presidency. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested.
Although Elgiz Gahraman was arrested on 12 August, his relatives were only made aware of this on the evening of 14 August, when they could provide him with a lawyer of their choice. However, the lawyer was only able to meet with him after 19 August, when the youth activist was transferred to the Pre-Trial Detention Facility from the Organized Crime Department of the Interior Ministry. He was held in this Department for a week. He informed the public that he had been subjected to torture while he was held there. Both of his lawyers stated that Elgiz Gahraman had been subjected to torture the signs (red spots) of which remained on his abdominal area, adding that their torture-related appeals were not investigated.
Sentence – Gahraman was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months of imprisonment by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes (Judge Azad Majidov) on 16 January 2017. Baku Court of Appeal (judge Sahibkhan Mirzayev) with its decision dated 18 May 2017, kept the decision unchanged.
On 29 November 2017 Supreme Court (judge Hafiz Nasibov) reduced the sentence to three years by changing the incriminated article of Criminal Code from 234.4.3 to 234.1 – decision is based on no intent to sell stored drugs).