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Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Azerbaijan jails four Islamist Eurovision plotters
2012-12-04
In Azerbaijan, four foreign-trained Islamists were sentenced to up to 14 years in jail on Monday for planning "terrorist attacks" on the eve of this year's Eurovision song contest in Baku.

A court official said the four were sentenced to between 12 and 14 years in jail for crimes including treason, plotting terrorist attacks, arms smuggling and having links with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Security forces killed the group's alleged leader in an operation in April and the other members of the group were arrested a month before the Eurovision contest in May.

The Security Ministry said the arrested had been trained in Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and some had fought NATO troops in Afghanistan. The court proceedings were closed to the public as is usual in Azerbaijan.

Iran and Azerbaijan became embroiled in a diplomatic dispute ahead of the Eurovision finals which were condemned by Iranian clerics and lawmakers who referred to a "gay parade".

Iran was angered by subsequent anti-Iranian protests in Baku, where demonstrators carried pictures of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and banners that read "Azerbaijan does not need clerics-homosexuals!".
Posted by:ryuge

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