Armenia Azerbaijan Caucasus Geopolitics

The collapse of the USSR” interview with Aslan Ismailov (part 2)

The collapse of the USSR” Aslan Ismailov (part 2)

By | Akper Hasanov

January 10, 2021 

The 1st part of this interview can be found HERE.

Republic Underground version here. 

Continuing our conversation, I cannot but ask you how it happened that you became the prosecutor for the defense of the state prosecution in the case of the Sumgayit events?

-In February 1988, well-known events took place in Sumgayit, as a result of which there was an attempt, by the way, continuing to this day by the Armenian media, to present Azerbaijanis to the whole world as barbarians and savages. I did not have a single informed relative or acquaintance either in Sumgayit or Baku to find out the truth about these events. Not to mention the general lack of information about those events. Alas, only dosed information was given to the press. And the information needed by the Soviet authorities read about “unprecedented atrocities of Azerbaijanis against Armenians …”.

In September 1988, while on my regular vacation in Baku, I went to see the then prosecutor of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilyas Ismayilov.

After listening to me, he agreed to my employment in the central office of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic, asking to officially resign from my previous position and come to Baku. After returning, I turned to the head of the justice department of the Stavropol Territory, Limanov. Despite the good relationship that developed between us, he was unhappy with my request. In addition, he said that the submission for my appointment as chairman of the Supreme Court of the Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Region was already ready.

But even this news could not make me change my mind, despite the fact that I was offered an ordinary position in Baku. But the biggest discontent was shown by the first secretary of the Zelenchuk district committee of the CPSU Fedorov. He expressed strong disagreement and, thinking that I wanted to work in the prosecutor’s office, offered me the position of the district prosecutor.

In case of refusal, he threatened to expel me from the party and generally leave me without work. But I firmly assured him of my desire to quit. Then I received several telegrams signed by the deputy prosecutor of the Azerbaijan SSR M. Jafarkuliev. They asked when I intend to come to Baku.

After M. Jafarkuliev’s last telegram, which arrived in March 1989, I called Ilyas Ismailov and told him about the situation. He replied that I could return to Baku even without being removed from the party register. I did just that. On April 3, 1989, an order was signed on my appointment as a prosecutor of the department for supervision of courts of the prosecutor’s office of the Azerbaijan SSR.

After a while, my family and I moved to Baku, and instead of the position of chairman of the court in Russia, I received the position of the prosecutor of the department for supervision of the consideration of criminal cases in the courts of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

After moving to Baku and since the beginning of work in the republic, very little time has passed, when suddenly one day the prosecutor of the republic, Ilyas Ismayilov, summoned me to his office and offered me to act as a public prosecutor in one of the criminal cases on the Sumgayit events.

At the same time, he noted that he had appointed a certain Javanshir Ismailov as a prosecutor, but he had no experience in this area. This case was rather complicated, and I used to work as a judge and had sufficient experience, so I. Ismailov wanted me to defend the state prosecution. I was extremely interested in learning the whole truth about the Sumgayit events, and therefore I immediately accepted the offer …

– Could you imagine who organized the Sumgayit events when you were appointed the state prosecutor in this case?

No, at that time I could not even imagine who exactly organized the Sumgayit events. I just wanted to know the truth. But among the accused, I was immediately attracted by the Armenian surname of Eduard Grigoryan and I began to ask myself questions: “Who was Eduard Grigoryan? Why did the crowd, shouting about injustice on the part of the Armenians, accepted an Armenian into its ranks? ” The search for answers to these questions led me to the truth: in the provocations that took place, Grigoryan was the main figure, one of those who controlled the people and directed the crowd to pogroms.

Is all this in the criminal case about the Sumgayit events?

Yes, of course. In the indictment of criminal case No. 18 / 55461-88 it is written in black and white that Grigoryan Eduard Robertovich, previously repeatedly convicted, on February 28, 1988, in the city of Sumgayit took a direct part in the riots, accompanied by pogroms, destruction, and other similar actions in micro districts and quarters of the city, as a result of which he committed a number of crimes against the personality and personal property of citizens of Armenian nationality, as well as actions aimed at inciting ethnic enmity and hatred.

Could you tell us in more detail about the role of Eduard Grigoryan in the Sumgayit events?

– I could enumerate the crimes committed by Eduard Grigoryan for a long time, but, in order not to tire the readers, I will briefly inform you that, as follows from the conclusion of the criminal case, E.R. committed the crimes stipulated by Article 72 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan SSR, that is, he took a direct part in the riots, accompanied by pogroms, destruction, arson, and other similar actions.

In addition, Grigoryan E.R. committed a crime under Article 67 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan SSR – agitation with the aim of inciting ethnic enmity and discord. He is also responsible for the crime under Article 109, part 3 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan SSR – rape, that is, sexual intercourse with the use of physical violence, threats, using the helpless state of the victim, committed by a group of persons and a person who had previously committed a similar crime.

He also committed a crime under Articles 15 and 94, paragraphs 2 and 8 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan SSR – an attempted murder for hooliganism committed by a person who had previously committed a similar crime, as well as a crime under Article 94, paragraphs 2,6,7. The Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan SSR is a premeditated murder for hooligan motives, with particular cruelty, accompanied by rape, and with the aim of concealing the crimes committed.

How big was Eduard Grigoryan’s influence on other defendants in the Sumgayit case?

From the very first sessions of the court, I noticed what a strong influence Eduard Grigoryan has on other defendants. Moreover, this influence was based not on respect or affection, but on an indescribable feeling of fear, as can be seen from the above testimony.

And this influence allowed Grigoryan to manipulate the accused in every possible way. Observing his behavior when watching videotapes, one could notice with what composure he gives testimony, even allows himself to mock the investigators. All this says that he was not an easy person. Repeatedly I became a witness of how, at just one glance from Grigoryan, the defendant changed his testimony, and even got up from the bench. As a rule, behind bars, Grigoryan left a free space next to him.

During the trial, it was enough for him only to glance at one of the accused, as he immediately got up from his seat, sat down next to Grigoryan, as if expecting an order from that. Despite the fact that I have repeatedly pointed out the fear felt by all the defendants before Grigoryan, the court did not pay attention to this, but for my words, I was attacked by the defendants and their relatives. One day, during a break in the courtroom, I witnessed a deplorable but very characteristic episode. It was a hot summer day. A bottle of mineral water was brought to the defendants and handed over to the one who was sitting on the edge. He, without opening the bottle, passed it to the next one, who, in turn, passed it even further, until the bottle reached Grigoryan. Only after Grigoryan opened the bottle and drank the water, the others dared to finish the “leftovers.”

This incident horrified me, I could not restrain myself, and once again asked them why they were so afraid of Grigoryan. They “boldly” answered: “We are not afraid of anyone!” Then I repeated again that I see how they “are not afraid of Grigoryan,” if without his permission they cannot even drink water, leaving only the right to leftovers. They had nothing to answer, and I saw that they were ashamed. But fear of Grigoryan outweighed this feeling of shame …

To be continued…