Europe

Azerbaijan jails three over Eurovision 'terrorist plot'

  • 3 May 2013
  • From the section Europe
Crystal Hall, Baku
Image caption Baku's purpose-built Crystal Hall was reported to be one of the targets of fellow plotters

A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced three people to prison in connection with an alleged "terrorist" plot to attack last year's Eurovision Song Contest in the capital, Baku.

The Azerbaijani citizens were guilty of "attempting to blow up the Israeli embassy" on the eve of the competition, court documents were quoted as saying.

Two of the defendants were jailed for 11 years and one for 12 years.

Four other people were found guilty in December of plotting a related attack.

Twenty-six countries took part in the Eurovision final in May 2012, which was watched by a live audience of some 20,000 people and millions of TV viewers worldwide. It was won by Swedish singer Loreen.

A week after the contest, the authorities in Azerbaijan announced that 40 people had been arrested in connection with what it said was a plot to launch "terrorist" attacks.

The national security ministry said at the time that the plotters had planned to attack the Baku Crystal Hall, where the event was staged, and several hotels.

The suspects, allegedly found in possession of guns and explosives, were accused of having links to Islamist insurgents in neighbouring Dagestan, a republic in the Russian North Caucasus.

News of plot was deliberately held back to prevent alarm among visitors, the national security ministry said.

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