Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Baku mosque attackers sentenced

By Tom Esslemont
BBC Caucasus correspondent


A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced 26 people to lengthy terms in prison in connection with an attack on a mosque in the capital Baku in August 2008.

Two worshippers were killed during the incident at the Abu Bakr Mosque when grenades were thrown at the building.

Those convicted said they were members of an organisation called Forest Brothers and among them were 23 Azeris, one Russian and two Turkish nationals.

The attack resulted in the closure of the mosque.

Fundamentalism fears

A court spokesman said the men were convicted of various offences including terrorism, murder, formation of an illegal group and arms possession.

The sentences range from two to 15 years.

Their convictions come after a long campaign by the authorities to track down members of the group.

In September 2008, the alleged mastermind behind the attack - Ilgar Mollachiyev - was killed by special forces in the neighbouring Russian republic of Dagestan.

Azerbaijan's government has become increasingly worried that what it calls fundamentalism will spread across its border.

In the past two years the authorities say they have thwarted major bomb plots against the US, British and Israeli embassies and various oil installations.

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