Residents of Dondar Gushchu village in the Tovuz region have submitted an appeal to President Ilham Aliyev and Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, highlighting concerns regarding the kidnapping and tragic death of 11-year-old Narmin Guliyeva in November 2019, as well as the subsequent arrest of Ilkin Suleymanov.
The villagers contend that during the period when the child was reported missing, President Aliyev took a personal interest in the case, instructing law enforcement agencies to swiftly solve the crime, which they believe resulted in the criminal targeting of Ilkin Suleymanov as a suspect.
The trial of Ilkin Suleymanov, accused of kidnapping and killing Narmin Guliyeva, has recently concluded, with the prosecutor recommending a 20-year prison sentence. On May 24, Suleymanov’s defense lawyers will present their arguments at the Ganja Serious Crimes Court.
Expressing their frustration and seeking assistance from President Aliyev, the villagers emphasized the mounting evidence presented by Suleymanov’s legal team, which they argue supports his innocence. Despite this, the prosecution remains firm in seeking a lengthy sentence. The villagers have raised concerns about the perceived injustice and lack of empathy displayed by the prosecutor’s stance.
Bashir Ahmadov, a resident of Dondar Gushchu, argued with Meydan TV that if Suleymanov were truly guilty, he would not have burned the victim’s body near his own doorstep. Ahmadov believes that the crime was carefully orchestrated to frame Suleymanov, exploiting the fact that he lived alone with his elderly parents and was unmarried, making him an easy target.
The villagers firmly stand by their conviction of Suleymanov’s innocence and demand his release. They emphasize the need to apprehend the real perpetrator and ensure the safety of their community. The residents voiced their views to Meydan TV, expressing the collective belief that Suleymanov’s continued imprisonment perpetuates an unjust situation.
Ilkin Suleymanov, born in 1973, faces multiple charges under the Criminal Code, including intentional murder with special cruelty, intentional killing of a helpless person, inflicting suffering on a kidnapped person, harming a minor, and kidnapping. The prosecution alleges that Suleymanov kidnapped Narmin out of jealousy towards his classmate, Sharif Guliyev, who had a family and children. According to the prosecution, Suleymanov killed the child and burned her body near his residence 47 days later.
Suleymanov maintains his innocence, denying any involvement in the minor’s death. He alleges that he was subjected to torture while in custody at the Tovuz District Police Department, leading to his coerced confession during the initial stages of the investigation. The General Prosecutor’s Office, however, has refuted the allegations of torture.
The appeal from Dondar Gushchu village and the ongoing trial of Ilkin Suleymanov highlight the deep concerns and controversy surrounding the case.
Last year, Azerbaijani journalist Ayten Mammadova was threatened at knifepoint earlier this week in her apartment building while returning home with her daughter. She was covering the abduction of 10-year-old Narmin Guliyeva in the village of Dondar Gushchu, Tovuz region, and the discovery of a burnt body in the village 47 days later. Mammadova said she also received a similar threatening call at their home 20 days ago. She believes that this attack and the phone call may be related to her coverage of the case.