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Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 16:22 UK

Two Lebanese jailed for Baku plot

Baku
Prosecutors say Azerbaijan's capital was targeted by Hezbollah

An Azerbaijani court has jailed two Lebanese men for plotting to attack the Israeli embassy in the capital Baku, sentencing them to 15 years each.

The men were named by court officials as Muhammad Ali Karaki and Najmeddin Ali Hussein.

Four Azerbaijani nationals received jail terms ranging from 12 to 14 years, the news agency Turan said.

The group was also found guilty of plotting an attack on a Russia-rented radar station in northern Azerbaijan.

The prosecution linked the group to Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as its allies the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and the "al-Qaeda network", officials said.

The staunchly Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda is not known to have any links with Hezbollah, which is a political and militant movement representing Shia Muslims in Lebanon.

Defence lawyers boycotted the sentencing, saying it was unjust, and pledged to appeal against the verdict.

"We believe that the court made its decision based on personal opinions rather than on facts and evidence," said lawyer Vugar Khasiev, in remarks quoted by the AFP news agency.

International press outlets have claimed that Hezbollah was preparing a spectacular attack in Baku to avenge the assassination of its military leader Imad Mughniyeh.



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