Baku, North Azerbaijan,July 5
On 3 July, the mayor of Ganja, Elmar Valiyev, and his bodyguard, Gasim Ashbazov, were shot in the center of the city. Yunis Safarov, a Russian citizen but a resident of Ganja, was detained at the scene.
In a joint statement released today by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the State Security Service, Safarov is accused of carrying out the attack as part of a plan to create an Islamic state in Azerbaijan ruled by sharia law.
According to the statement, Safarov received training with an armed group associated with Iranian regime in Syria. Authorities also claim to have a video, which Safarov allegedly recorded before the attacks, in which he connects the attack to the imprisonment of Muslim Unity leader Taleh Baghirzadeh and calls on Islamists to overthrow Azerbaijan’s government.
On 4 July, photos of Safarov were circulated on social media in which he seemed to have been badly beaten, presumably by the police. Yet today, Safarov was brought before the media for the first time and claimed that the police had not mistreated him.