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Iran and Azerbaijan: Spy scandal is over?

2012-10-10 17:05

Iran and Azerbaijan: Spy scandal is over?. 28445.jpeg

Spy scandal between Azerbaijan and Iran is lasting for about a year. Baku still well remembers the hype surrounding the arrest of two young Azerbaijani poets, accused by Iranian security forces of spying for Israel. Now the story repeats in Azerbaijan, where a similar case has resulted in a court verdict. However, there is a difference between the two spy trials in Azerbaijan and Iran.


Spy scandal, organized by Iranian security forces against citizens of Azerbaijan Shahriyar Hassanzadeh and Farid Huseynov, ended with the acquittal of the latters. Several court sessions were held to a gross violation of both international and Iranian law. Even at the session, which took place a few months after the arrest of Azerbaijanis, there were not pressed any charges against them.

Recall, poets Farid Huseynov and Shahriyar Hassanzadeh left for Iran on May 2, 2012 for participation in the festival of poetry, where they were arrested. For a long time Tehran rejected the fact of the arrest of Azerbaijani citizens. Baku presented Iran several official notes with the requirement to clarify what was happening. Iranian media claimed that Azerbaijani citizens were engaged in espionage on behalf of Israel. But, as later events have proved, the charges were baseless. As a result, the Iranian side was to release poets.

Court in Baku has some differences from this trial. First, Azerbaijan tried its own citizens, not visitors from the neighboring country. Second, the defendants were charged with specific accusations, and the investigation, in the opinion of an outside observer, was pretty convincing. In the end Baku Court has made verdict in relation of 22 persons accused of treason, espionage, and committed a number of other crimes. Court has convicted and sentenced Niazi Kerimov, Gamidaga Alekperov and Elman Tagiyev to 13 years imprisonment; Taleh Rasulov, Rahim Gasimov, Mammadtagi Zakiev, Nusrat Jalilov, Jayhoon Gabibov, Shahin Mammadov, Mubariz Aliyev, Bahram Gasimov, Araz Abbasov, Afghan Abbasov, Miralesker Agayev, Rovshan Zulfugarov, Seymour Gasimov, Elchin Kerimov and Zahid Mammadov to 10 years in prison. Gyulguseyn Nureyev was sentenced to 5 years in prison; Abulfat Zakiev, Ali Bashirov and Asaf Faradzhev were sentenced to 3 years in prison. All of them were charged under the articles 274 (high treason), 228 (illegal possession of weapons) and 234 (illegal possession of drugs).

According to the investigation, resident of Nardaran Niazi Kerimov was recruited by a representative of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Akper Pakrvesh (IRGC) in 1999 in Mashhad. Kerimov was instructed to gather a group of people to commit terrorist acts in Baku against citizens of the U.S., Israel and other Western countries. Till 2011, Karimov has repeatedly traveled to Iran, where he received instructions and money from members of the IRGC. He has recruited more than 15 people. This group traveled to Iran as tourists, visiting religious sites. In fact, representatives of the IRGC trained them to commit terrorist acts. The group has undergone training in special camps of saboteurs near Tehran and Karaj. During the operational activities Azerbaijani security forces detained all suspects. Number of operations in this direction was carried out in early 2012.

Relatives of the convicted stated they were going to appeal the verdict. "If the courts of the country do not consider our appeals, we would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights", they said. A number of the convicts are veterans of the Karabakh war, and this is blasphemy to accuse them of treason, the convicts' relatives believe.

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