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