Eurovision Baku 2012 terror plotters jailed

BBC reports 3 Azerbaijanis were sentenced for plotting to blow up Israeli embassy in Baku on eve of song contest.

May 4, 2013 06:26
Eurovisin rehearsals in Azerbaijan

Eurovision 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Three Azerbaijani citizens were sentenced on Friday to prison terms for trying to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Baku before the start of the Eurovision Song Contest last May.

Two of the plotters were sentenced to 11 years and the third to 12 years.

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In December, four other Islamists, foreign-trained, were found guilty and sentenced to up to 14 years in jail in Azerbaijan.

A court official, who declined to be named, said the four were charged with crimes including treason, plotting terrorist attacks, arms smuggling and having links with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

After 70 years of Soviet-rule, most Azeris have a relaxed attitude towards religion, but Azerbaijan, a NATO ally bordering Iran on the Caspian Sea, is combating increasing Islamist extremism with ties to Tehran.

Iran and Azerbaijan became embroiled in a diplomatic spat ahead of the Eurovision finals, which were condemned by Iranian clerics and lawmakers who referred to the singing competition as a “gay parade.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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