Hizbollah trial in Azerbaijan
10 July 2009
The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor reports on the trial of six people in Azerbaijan, accused of plotting terrorist attacks in the country on behalf of Iran and Hizbollah. The six are accused of planning to attack, amongst other targets, the Israeli embassy and a Jewish Cultural Centre in Baku:
A trial of six people accused of terrorism and other serious crimes began on June 24 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Two Lebanese citizens, Karaki Ali Muhammad and Najmaddin Ali Hussein, were charged with treason, revealing secret information abroad, espionage, preparation of acts of terrorism, drug trafficking and arms smuggling. Four Azerbaijani citizens, Javid Mamadov, Vidadi Rasulov, Mushfig Amanov and Afgan Balashev all face similar charges. The alleged terrorist cell planned to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku as well as blow up the Russian-operated Qabala radar station. According to investigation records, the group was receiving orders from Irans Revolutionary Guards and Lebanons Hezbollah. Both Lebanese had been trained and sent to Azerbaijan by terrorist organizations Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. (Trend News [Baku], June 10). The suspects allegedly planned to attract local people to cooperate with them in carrying out terrorist attacks in densely populated areas. After getting their instructions from Hezbollah, the two Lebanese arrived in Iran, where agents of the Revolutionary Guards helped them to cross the border into Azerbaijan. Once there, they are alleged to have established a group consisting of local citizens, convincing them to bomb the Qabala radar station (Dayaz, May 27).
The investigation revealed that members of the group visited the Qabala region in August 2007 and took photos of the radar station. Meanwhile, group leader Karaki Ali Muhammad visited Baku several times since 2007 to collect information about Israels embassy. During the trial the leader of the ring admitted that he had represented Hezbollah in Iran since 2003 and his monthly wage from this organization was $900. He was ordered to collect information on the Jewish Cultural Center in Baku as well investigate a number of Iranians who help Israel (Turan Information Agency [Baku], June 19). Karaki Ali Muhammad was born in 1967 in the Lebanese city of Nabatia but lived for a long time in Tehran. Officially, Muhammad did not have a job while in Tehran, but he accompanied tourists to the holy places of Iran. He assembled tourist groups near Tehrans al-Nabi Mosque and was hired there by an employee of the Iranian Ministry of Security and Intelligence (Vezarat-e Ettelaat va Anmiat-e Keshvar VEVAK).