Court in Azerbaijan sentences Nagorno-Karabakh activists to prison

Court in Azerbaijan sentences Nagorno-Karabakh activists to prison terms

AP Worldstream
Aug 30, 2004

An Azerbaijani court on Monday handed down prison sentences to six
protesters arrested in June for causing disturbances at a NATO forum
attended by Armenian officers.

The defendants conviced by a court in the capital Baku are members of
the Organization for the Liberation of Karakbakh, a group that opposes
ethnic Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory in
Azerbaijan that has been disputed since a war that ended in a decade

The organization’s head, Famil Nasibov, was sentenced to five years in
prison, his deputy Firidum Mammadov to three years, while three
members of the group’s youth branch received four-year
sentences. Their lawyers said they will appeal.

The protesters pushed through police cordons, broke glass doors and
stormed into a conference hall in Baku’ Europe hotel where a NATO
forum was being held in June, calling on Azerbaijan to stop
negotiating with neighboring Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The protesters and hotel security guards suffered minor injuries in
the incident in the hotel and the meeting resumed in several minutes.

Armenian-backed forces took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and
surrounding areas in a six-year war that killed some 30,000 people and
drove about a million from their homes.

A 1994 cease-fire has largely held, but no final settlement has been
reached, and the ongoing confrontation has hurt the economies of both
former Soviet republics.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are not NATO members, but both participate in
the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program.