Azerbaijan’s Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office have issued a joint statement on the recent incident of prisoner escape.
Two convicts – Etibar Mammadov, arrested for special grave crimes, and Ali Aghami –managed to escape while being transferred to Baku on a special purpose train running from Astara to Baku on October23, said the statement.
The Justice Ministry immediately set up an operational headquarters in connection with the incident, and is taking all necessary actions in conjunction with other law enforcement authorities to locate and capture the escapees.
In order to investigate the cause of the incident and the circumstances under which it happened, a comprehensive inspection has been done.
Based on the inspection results, the Justice Minister ordered that the penitentiary service’s convoy battalion commander, Justice Lieutenant Colonel Bahruz Abdullayev, and the battalion’s acting chief of headquarters, Justice Major Hikmat Sadigov were removed from judicial authorities, while the battalion’s 2nd convoy detachment commander, Justice Captain Ruslan Zeynalov, the 3rd detachment’s commander, Justice Captain Rza Khankishiyev, and the general assistant to the chief of headquarters for convoy service, Justice Captain Rakif Mammadov were dismissed from their posts.
Moreover, the chief of the guard, Jeyhun Samadov, and other seven employees who accompanying the prisoners on the train, were also dismissed and a number of other liable employees were initiated disciplinary proceedings against.
The Investigation Department for Serious Crimes of the Prosecutor General’s Office initiated a criminal case under articles 304.2.1 (deprivation of liberty by a group of persons previously acting in concert or escape from detention or under guard) and 308.2 (abuse of power with serious consequences), set up an investigation team and carried out immediate investigative measures.
The site of the incident was thoroughly inspected by experts from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Center for Forensic Expertise of the Ministry of Justice. In addition, material evidence was taken, eyewitnesses were interrogated and other necessary procedural measures were taken.
The preliminary investigation revealed that during the transfer of the arrested persons, the requirements of the guideline for the transfer of prisoners were not observed in relation to Etibar Mammadov and Ali Aghami, which led to the escape of the prisoners.
In this regard, the guard chief, Jeyhun Samadov, and his assistants Fuad Hajiyev and Tural Platkhanov were put in pretrial detention.
An arrest warrant in absentia was issued for Etibar Mammadov and Ali Aghami. A manhunt is underway for the escapees.