Friday, June 19, 2009

Spy trial starts next week

The trial of Ali Karaki and Ali Najmeddin is supposed to begin June 24 in Baku, according to Intelligence Online, a newsletter based in Paris. The two alleged Lebanese Hezbollah agents were arrested as a result of a joint effort by the CIA in Azerbaijan, the Turkish intelligence agency Milli Istihbarat Teskilat, and Israel's spy agency Mossad, according to IO.

The report from IO says the arrests of Hezbollah members in Azerbaijan is just the one of a string of set-backs suffered by the group, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

I couldn't find any news of the trial in the local press of Azerbaijan, but this isn't surprising. In fact, the trial very well may not occur. Often diplomatic deals obviate the need for spy trials.

That's not to say that the legal system in Azerbaijan has been quiet lately.

According to Trend News, a news agency closely connected to the government, a criminal prosecutor today called for the imprisonment of Mahal Ismayiloglu, former editor of Khalq Qazeti. He's also written articles for the New Musavat newspaper. The prosecutor is calling for a prison term of 3 1/2 years. The charge supposedly has nothing to do with his journalism. The criminal case is based on the complaints of Nasiba Nurush, Ismayiloglu's housekeeper. She charges that her former employer put physical pressure on her and insulted her.

And yesterday a court sentenced members of a radical religious group to prison terms ranging from two to 15 years for their role in planned attacks on the U.S. and British Embassies in Azerbaijan two years ago.