TWO CRIMINAL TRIALS IN AZERBAIJAN.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 184
On September 22, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan sentenced seven members of an illegal armed group, created by former OPON [Special-Purpose Police Detachments] officers. Three defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment, and four others to prison terms of up to fifteen years, on charges of terrorism and banditry stemming from the 1992-95 civil conflicts. Members of this group were found guilty of having committed eight assassinations, including that of the first deputy chairman of Azerbaijan’s parliament, Afiaddin Jalilov. They were also found guilty of having attempted twice in 1995 to blow up a bridge in Baku while President Haidar Aliev’s motorcade was passing.
Jalilov had been Aliev’s closest ally in their native Nakhichevan, the Azerbaijani exclave and nominally autonomous republic. As chairman of Nakhichevan’s legislature, Jalilov yielded that post to Aliev when the latter returned to Nakhichevan from Moscow in 1991, preparatory to his 1993 return to Baku. According to the confessions in court, the assassins deemed Jalilov an accomplice to Armenia by dint of his allegedly “mixed blood.” In 1995, following the abortive assassination attempts against Aliev, the OPON staged an armed insurrection which was defeated by army troops loyal to the president (AzerHabar, September 8, 22; Turan, September 23; ANS, September 22, 25).
On October 3, the Military Board of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan passed sentence on militants of the Jeyshullah [Army of Allah] terrorist group. Jeyshullah leader Mubariz Aliev was sentenced to life imprisonment; twelve others, to prison terms ranging from four to thirteen years. Aliev, 31, a renegade Internal Affairs Ministry officer, founded the group in 1995 to “cleanse” Azerbaijan of foreign influences deemed “sacrilegious” to the “true Islam.” Ensconced in a mountain fastness north of Baku, the group initially collected information on its targets, mainly foreign organizations. It then disseminated leaflets threatening to attack those foreigners if they did not leave Azerbaijan.
Between 1996 and 1999 Jeyshullah staged an armed raid on the Baku office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, planned and threatened an attack on the United States embassy, planted a bomb at the headquarters of the International Krishna Society in Baku, assassinated the chairman of the Azerbaijani Psychics’ Society and his two sons, and finally botched an attempt to hijack a military helicopter. Several Jeyshullah members are still at large (International War and Peace Research Institute, Caucasus Reporting Service, No. 50, September 22; ANS, August 28, 31, September 8, 26; Turan, August 29, September 5, 22, October 3).
The two cases had been in progress in the Supreme Court since August. Azerbaijan abolished the death penalty in 1998 as part of the country’s bid to qualify for admission to the Council of Europe.
1″Opposition to the Finance Ministry’s 2001 defense budget, meanwhile, appears to be centered at present in the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee.”
2″‘We demand that the debt be returned. There are no politics in this. If they cannot pay with money, we will receive Media-Most’s shares and sell them to whomever pays the most.'”
3″Following the elections, however, there was a turning point in the Chechen military campaign.”
4″The Russian government does not recognize that continuity, claiming instead that the Soviet Union’s incorporation of the Baltic states was ‘legal.'”
5″Aliev, 31, a renegade Internal Affairs Ministry officer, founded the group in 1995 to ‘cleanse’ Azerbaijan of foreign influences deemed ‘sacrilegious’ to the ‘true Islam.'”
“Between 1996 and 1999 Jeyshullah staged an armed raid on the Baku office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, planned and threatened an attack on the United States embassy, planted a bomb at the headquarters of the International Krishna Society in Baku, assassinated the chairman of the Azerbaijani Psychics’ Society and his two sons, and finally botched an attempt to hijack a military helicopter.”
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