Azerbaijan tries 2 from ethnic group centered near Iran for treason

Two members of an ethnic minority centered near Azerbaijan's border with Iran went on trial Thursday on treason charges, the latest case reflecting concerns of Iranian influence in the former Soviet republic. The trial in Azerbaijan's Grave Crimes Court in the capital, Baku, stems from accusations that the newspaper Talysh Voice, whose name comes from the Talysh ethnic group, preached separatism and ethnic bias and insulted members of other groups including majority Azeris. Talysh Voice editor Novruzali Mammadov and another top official at the newspaper, Elman Guliyev, were arrested in February and are being tried behind closed doors. According to prosecutors, Guliyev said during questioning that he received Iranian funding for the publication of the newspaper and the acquisition of historical and religious books.