Aslan Ismayilov: “The same people could have had their hands on the events in Sumgayit, Osh, and Fergana”
By | Akper Hasanov
January 12, 2021
Exclusive interview with 1news.Az with a well-known lawyer, author of the book “Sumgayit – the beginning of the collapse of the USSR” Aslan Ismailov (part 4).
What episode of the Sumgayit events do you consider the cruelest?
In my opinion, the most terrible criminal episode during the events in Sumgait was the atrocities against Emma Grigoryan, who was about 60 years old. She was raped by a group of criminals and then subjected to cruel torture, moreover, the accused Grigoryan directed the actions of accomplices, incited them, and, under the threat of reprisals against them, forced them to mock the elderly woman.
In short, there is a whole series of proofs that it was Eduard Grigoryan who organized the pogroms in the apartments of the Armenians in the city of Sumgayit?
You are absolutely right. Investigative materials have repeatedly indicated that Grigoryan encouraged the members of the group to treat the Armenians mercilessly, urged them to be killed and raped.
Although both the accused and the victims have repeatedly confirmed the fact that it was Grigoryan who had a list of Armenians, although all the testimonies repeatedly confirm the facts of Grigoryan’s distribution of pills, that he had a hypertrophied, I would even say, custom-made persistence in persuading the rest of the accused to manifest cruelty towards Armenians, the investigation brought Grigoryan to justice not as an organizer, but only as a participant in these grave crimes.
Despite all my efforts, the judge also supported this position, and during the trial ranked Grigoryan as an ordinary participant in the events.
Can we assume that Eduard Grigoryan was carrying out someone’s task?
I will say this, from the testimony it is clear that three witnesses confirm the constant meetings of Grigoryan with two people. The case file shows that, while interrogating Grigoryan’s wife, the investigator is trying to establish in chronological order where her husband was before the known events.
During interrogation, Grigoryan’s wife said that she lived with her husband, he constantly informed her about the places of his stay, about everyone with whom he met. She then reveals that one day when they were returning home, at the corner of the building, she noticed two people in black raincoats. She wanted to examine them, but Grigoryan roughly pulled her back, saying in Russian: “Why are you staring?”
Then they returned home. When the investigator asked what happened next, Grigoryan’s wife replied: “he left me and left.” When the investigator asked where Grigoryan had gone, because she had previously stated that her husband had always informed her about his meetings, and even warned her if he was delayed, Grigoryan’s wife could not answer. I just realized that he had an important business. Simple logic suggests that Grigoryan left home to meet people in black raincoats.
I would like to bring to your attention some testimonies recorded in the materials of the criminal case, but not included in the indictment, as well as testimonies made during the trial, but not reflected in the protocol, but remained in my memory.
Thus, Galib Mammadov and Vagif Huseynov testified during the investigation that they had seen these people in black raincoats. Galib Mammadov said something like the following: “We walked in a crowd, I was behind Grigoryan.
To the side, I saw two people in black cloaks standing. They were not residents of Sumgayit, they looked like newcomers.
Then I saw that even though these people in black cloaks Grigoryan did not say anything, he turned in their direction, and as if to calm, waved his hands and said, “All right, oaks follow me …”
A similar reading and gives Vagif Huseynov. But, despite the importance of this information, the investigation never found out who these two in black raincoats were, for what purpose they met with Grigoryan, and what they discussed with him, why Grigoryan said the above words.
Did you manage to find the answer to this question?
You correctly noted that the phrase “the oaks are following me” attracted particular attention and became the cause of my concern. So I decided to get to know one of the members of the investigation team.
I met with Velikhanov and shared my suspicions with him. I immediately had a good impression of this man. He sincerely admitted that he could not fully familiarize himself with the case materials, that he, one might say, conducted secondary and tertiary polls, but despite this, he also thinks that this case is not as simple as they want to present it.
Niyazi told me one KGB colonel, an investigator of the investigation group (he worked as an investigator in one of the regions close to Moscow, unfortunately, I cannot remember his name now). To clarify some questions, I asked Niyazi to introduce me to this colonel. However, Niyazi was hopelessly assured that this person would not say anything about the circumstances of my interest. Then I asked my compatriot to simply invite him to a “dinner party” I had organized. He agreed…
The meeting took place at the Zoo restaurant and dragged on for a long time. I felt the addiction of the interlocutor to alcohol immediately. Towards the end of the feast, I deliberately turned the conversation to the period when I worked in Russia, about the difficulties that arose at that time, in general, the conversation turned to professional topics. The colonel started talking with pleasure about his work, about his own high professionalism.
When, not without a share of bragging, he began to convince me of his competence, I objected to him: “Well, how can you consider yourself professionals, if even I, not being a KGB employee, I see from the case materials that the Sumgayit events were organized from outside, and you could not notice it ?! ” These words seemed to sober the interlocutor, and he immediately rudely retorted: “You, I see, are very pleased with yourself. I perfectly know the essence of this matter. We not only revealed that the events were organized but even know by whom.”
Then he added that they found out the identities of the people mentioned in the case and suspects in black raincoats, even showed their photos to Grigoryan’s wife and some of the accused, and they identified these people. The investigators knew that the named people were in fact the organizers of the riots; they subsequently left for Uzbekistan. According to the colonel, having found out the exact place of their stay, he went to the head of the investigation group Galkin and asked to sign a trip to bring these people from Uzbekistan.
In response, Galkin said: “Didn’t you hear the speech of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev? After all, he said that the Sumgayit events were the work of hooligan elements. That is how the case should be completed …”
The KGB colonel noted that the Sumgayit case was completed in this way, not because they turned out to be illiterate, but precisely for the above reason. I repeat, the living Niyazi Velikhanov was a witness to this conversation, probably he will be able to confirm my words.
Is it an accident that similar events soon took place in Uzbekistan?
I will express my personal assumption that the very people in black raincoats could have had their hands on the events in Osh and Fergana, as well as in the events in Sumgayit. After the collapse of the USSR, it became known that the KGB of the USSR had a structure that was involved in organizing riots in Africa, in Asian countries. It is not excluded that these “men in black” were employees of that very structure. The investigation of this fact is the business of other people, other organizations …
Were there any attempts to interfere with the investigation and the trial?
As a direct participant in the criminal proceedings on the Sumgayit events, I can definitely say that during the entire trial there was constant interference in the course of the case. This has manifested itself in various forms. First of all, it should be noted the inappropriate behavior of the defendants’ lawyers, who violated professional ethics, put pressure on the arrested in every way, and by any means protected them from giving truthful testimony.
As soon as I exposed one of the accused of lying during cross-examination, they immediately attacked me and turned to insults. Throughout the trial, all the accused insulted me with words such as “Armenian”, “Armenian spy”. I have repeatedly appealed to Mansur Ibaev with a demand to protect me from such insults.
I would also like to note that among the lawyers there was one woman named Trubovskaya, she defended Grigoryan. By about the middle of the hearings, notes appeared in the notebook, which I kept throughout the entire process, that Trubovskaya was late an hour and a half every day. The reason for these notes was the suspicion that this lawyer met with someone and received instructions before each hearing. It was after each of her lateness that there was a revival in the ranks of the defendants and lawyers as if she instructed and directed each of them.
Returning to the facts that I have revealed during the trial, I will note that at that time I witnessed the serious interest shown by many young employees of the Supreme Court in this process. They were constantly present in the conference room. One day, towards the end of the hearing, two young men came up to me, who introduced themselves as court clerks of the Supreme Court.
They reported that during the entire trial one person comes here and communicates with Grigoryan, and then goes up to the second floor, to the general department, and from there calls somewhere. Even then, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of disgust for everything that was happening around me, so I angrily answered them: “Go and inform the judge or chairman about this.” I still remember their views and the answer they sounded: “Aslan-muallim, this business is not needed by anyone except you.” These words of young people heard at that moment, one might say, revived me again.
I asked these young people to show him to me in case the person indicated by them reappears. After a while, they came up to me during a break and said that this person was on the second floor and was already calling somewhere. We immediately went up to the second floor. The then-Supreme Court was located in the building of the present Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan on grave crimes.
On the second floor, one door was located directly along the way, and on the right side of the corridor, there were several other doors. One of the doors was open and someone was there.
The young people accompanying me pointed to the open door, from where this man called. We entered the room and asked him to introduce himself. He replied in Russian and a very rude manner: “What is it to you?” I said that I was an employee of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic, and again asked him to introduce himself.
Then he said: “If you are an employee of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic, then go and command there, here you have no right to demand anything.” But, sensing the tension of the situation, he pulled out an ID from his pocket. He said that he is an employee of the KGB of the Azerbaijan SSR. When I tried to take and look at the certificate, he did not give it. Later it turned out that in front of me there was a KGB officer of the Azerbaijan SSR, an Armenian by the name of Tsaturyan.
With the help of two young men who accompanied me, who took him by the arms, we tried to escort him to the president of the court. But he began to resist, asked what I want to do. I answered: “Let’s go to the chairman of the court.” And if before that he showed resistance, then, having heard where we want to go with him, immediately relaxed and agreed.
In the office of the chairman, I explained that this person interferes with the conduct of the process, interferes in the case, illegally meets with Grigoryan. And he even firmly stated that he met with other arrested persons, so he asked to find out what the KGB officer, an Armenian by nationality, was doing in the building of the Supreme Court during the trial.
Huseyn Talibov knew me and resolutely said: “Don’t worry, I’ll find out.” But until now I do not know, neither the fate of this episode nor what the chairman found out and what conclusion he came to.