Azerbaijan Jails 22 in Alleged Iran-Backed Terror Plot

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 11:45 am (UTC-5)
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A closed court in Azerbaijan has sentenced 22 Azerbaijani citizens to prison for assisting Iran in allegedly plotting terrorist attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets in the country.

The defendants received sentences Tuesday ranging from three to 13 years imprisonment after authorities accused them of planning attacks in cooperation with Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Targets for the attacks were to include the U.S. and Israeli embassies.

Authorities said the defendants had received weapons and training after being recruited, beginning in 1999. The charges also included treason, the illegal possession and transfer of weapons, and possession of narcotics.

Azerbaijan revealed the allegations and arrests in March.

The relatives of the defendants tell VOA that they will appeal the sentencing and ultimately take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Iranian government has not commented on the sentencing.

Iran has a large ethnic Azeri minority and is apprehensive of Azerbaijan's influence over it. Relations between the neighboring countries have been strained over a number of issues.