Baku: Azerbaijani Security Ministry Detains 13 People Spying For Arm

AZERBAIJANI SECURITY MINISTRY DETAINS 13 PEOPLE SPYING FOR ARMENIA: DEPUTY MINISTER

Trend News Agency
June 25 2008
Azerbaijan

Trend News interview with Deputy Minister of National Security of
Azerbaijan Republic, Major General Ali Shafiyev.

The 21st century was characterized with changeability of the worldwide
geo-strategic areals, acceleration of integration processes, as well
as appearance of new international security challenges. Manifestations
such as armed separatism, terrorism, religious and political extremism,
illegal turnover of drugs, radioactive substances and arms, human
trafficking are dangerous for Azerbaijan, as well. However, today there
are all premises and conditions in Azerbaijan, which confidently moves
through the way of establishing legal democratic State where steadfast
public and political stability has been created, to protect national
interests and take effective measures to combat above-mentioned
threats. The public displays a permanent interest in the special
service organizations of Azerbaijan, which play a specific role in
ensuring national security in a reliable manner. With this respect,
we appealed Deputy Minister of National Security of Azerbaijan
Republic, Major General Ali Shafiyev, to get detailed responses to
some questions.

Question: Today, Azerbaijan is one of the rapidly developing countries
due to its economic indicators. It is not secret that certain forces,
including international terrorist network, try to use Azerbaijan’s
openness for political and economic and cultural relations. Could
you speak about activities of the security organizations in combating
terrorism while it has become into a global problem…

Answer: Your question is very interesting and covers a wide spectrum. I
begin, answering the first part of it. The undeniable fact is
that today Azerbaijan is amongst the countries demonstrating high
growth pace due to political-legal and socio-economic reforms. Under
leadership of Ilham Aliyev, worthy continuer of the policy of the
Nationwide Leader Heydar Aliyev, our country became a leading country
in the region and is in process of rapid economic development improving
welfare of population.

Every year of Ilham Aliyev’s presidency in Azerbaijan is characterized
with considerable achievements. This period was also remembered
with rapid integration into the world community, realization of
reforms, regional and international projects, high economic progress
and Azerbaijan’s becoming a country with an influential opinion
worldwide. I should note with proud that the National Security
Ministry plays considerable role in the consolidation of statehood
and defense of national interests of the nation, as the head of state
has numerously stated in his speeches.

As to the second part of your question, it not secret that Azerbaijan
is a very attractive country with its rich history, cultural and
spiritual and material wealth, natural resources and geostrategic
position. The attitude towards a country rich in every respect is
always different. This is an axiom. There are countries, which are
eager to see Azerbaijan as a reliable partner, political and economic
ally in their bilateral cooperation with our country and they are in
majority. However, forces which cannot reconcile with Azerbaijan’s
successes, cannot admit them and attempt to impede the country’s
progress, are also not less in number.

All these factors, including the possible threats, are constantly
studied and analyzed, adequate decisions are taken for dynamic
development of the national security system of the country, a range
of preventive measures are carried out for more reliable protection
of Azerbaijan’s interests. In its turn, it requires battle readiness,
vigilance and professionalism from the security organizations.

Our key task is to offer facilities for successful implementation of
internal and foreign policy of the country. Virtually, there is not
any sphere in our life, where national interests do not exist. Within
the framework of its authorities and jointly with relevant state
bodies, the National Security Ministry carries out work to defend
national interests in economic, public and political, social, cultural,
ecological and other spheres. In many spheres we play a leading role,
but in some other fields we take a close part. The Ministry regularly
informs the public about results of its activities.

It is possible to state confidently that national security strategy of
modern Azerbaijan contributes in ensuring international stability and
security. Our country’s contribution in maintenance of stability and
security in the hottest point of the planet within the anti-terror
coalition, shoulder-by-shoulder with the world leading countries,
is a bright example for it.

Last year, the national security agencies, which play an important
role in recognition of Azerbaijan as one of the most active members
of the anti-terror coalition, obtained considerable results. As a
result of measures being taken, there were detained three radical
armed extremist groups, connected with the international terrorist
organizations Al-Qaeda and Al-Jihad, which showed signs of crimes
such as high treason, efforts of forcible seizure of power and other
law breakings in their activities. Some 40 people, who were part of
these groups, were arrested and one terrorist putting up resistance
was annihilated. Of them, 16 people are members of the armed group
calling themselves as ‘Forestry brothers’, which is responsible
for several armed attacks on the territory of Russia. Furthermore,
9 members of the religious extremist groups committing armed attacks
in Baku, using arms and ammunitions being stolen from military unit
N of the Defense Ministry, and planning acts of terrorism against
the embassies of the United States and other western countries were
detained and made criminally responsible.

As a result of operative search measures being taken by the
Ministry of National Security to reveal intelligence-demolition
and subversive-terrorist activities against national interests of
Azerbaijan, it was possible to divest and detain 15 people, who
established a criminal union entitled ‘Northern army of Imam Mehti
– NIMA’ to forcibly change the constitutional establishment and
committed a number of heinous crimes and high treason by assisting
other States in carrying out hostile activities against the Azerbaijan
Republic. Facts were revealed on co-operation of several members of
this organization with the special services of the Islamic Republic
of Iran on the basis of material reward and military exercises in the
training camps. And finally, one of the key goals of this organization
was to impede Azerbaijan’s integration to the West and to create a
regime of governance in Azerbaijan on the basis of Shariah regulations.

Furthermore, last year the Ministry neutralized twenty people
involved in intelligence and blasting activities against Azerbaijan,
and thirteen of them were engaged in espionage in favor of Armenia,
which occupied the territory of our country.

Generally, operative activities of the National Security Ministry
in the above mentioned directions has never stopped and the
new achievements have been made in preventing intelligence
activities of the foreign special service organizations, as
well as neutralizing people related to international terrorist
infrastructure. Unfortunately, relevant information will be publicized
a bit later as the operative investigation measures on these facts
are still underway.

Azerbaijan is our Motherland. Work for ensuring security of our
Motherland is a sacred service and we urge the Azerbaijani society to
regard seriously this issue, assist the national security organizations
in fighting against such manifestations and demonstrate real civil
position.

IT WAS POSSIBLE TO NEUTRALIZE ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS TERROR GROUPS,
SUCH AS ‘MUNIRA GROUP’, AL-QAEDA CAUCASUS’, ‘JAMAAT-AL-MUVAHHIDUN’

Question: Some recent media reports urge on the aggravation of
the religious situation in Azerbaijan and tendencies of strong
politicization of the religious factor. How do you view the situation
in the country in this sphere?

Answer: The Azerbaijani people and society have always differed for
their patience and tolerance. Fortunately, there is no ground for
conflict between religious or other kinds of trends in Azerbaijan and
we can be proud of this fact. At present general stability reigns in
Azerbaijan and building of democratic state and economic reforms yield
results. Azerbaijan is a leader in the region. As I mentioned at the
beginning, the various interests towards our country are growing more
and more alongside with country’s development.

The latest developments on the international scene leave traces in our
society as well. For instance, there are various manifestations of the
international organized crime and some foreign extremist groupings
take attempts to pressure for changing the secular and democratic
government of our country and even to prevent Azerbaijan from becoming
part of the international anti-terrorism coalition. Some of these
attempts obviously make use of the religious factor. Undoubtedly, the
respective agencies of Azerbaijan take a set of adequate, consistent
and effective measures to combat these threats. Unfortunately, I should
mention that we witness attempts of some forces instigated by certain
foreign circles to aggravate religious situation and achieve their
goals. However, any critical situation originated from the religious
sources is out the question.

I think it is not expedient to go into the details of what measures
are carried out by the Ministry of National Security to secure the
efficient security of our country. However, at the same time I want to
mention that we have informed the people in detail about the detention
of especially dangerous terrorist groupings such as Group of Munir,
Al Qaeda Caucasus and Jammat al-Muvahhidun which tried to use the
religious factor to achieve their criminal aims.

Furthermore, the Ministry of National Security is carrying out
preventive measures to reverse radicalism processes. For instance,
conversations with local people, particularly with the young who
are subject to a certain religious radicalization, helping them from
being misled, legal education and other measures are priorities of our
activities with this regard and I would say, these measures yield very
good results. The analysis of the situation in this sphere enables
us to conclude that the majority of those who are subject to the
religious radicalization are caught in a net of fanaticism because of
the lack of knowledge of the core and content of religion, ignorance
and lack of education. People without knowledge in this sphere are
easily influenced and they become followers of alien religious trends.

As to taking administrative and legal measures, I state once again
that we consider them extreme measures. As a conclusion I would say
that not only National Security Ministry, but also other responsible
agencies including educational, public and youth organizations should
deal with this issue. Generally, relevant work is currently realized.

OCCUPIED LANDS OF AZERBAIJAN ARE USED FOR DRUGS TRAFICKING TO EUROPE
VIA THE ROUTES OF ‘IRAN-AZERBAIJAN-RUSSIA’ AND ‘ARMENIA-GEORGIA’

Question: The National Security Ministry realizes successful actions
against drugs trafficking. Territories of what countries are more
frequently used for drugs trafficking from Azerbaijan?

Answer: The drugs trafficking is one of major forms of transnational
organized crimes, threatening the future of mankind. Use of income
from drugs business, which is supposed to be one of the most profitable
types of crime, for financing other transnational crimes and terrorism
actually increases the level of its dangerousness. Over the past
period serious achievements have been made in combating transnational
organized crime, including drugs trafficking.

With respect to combating drugs trafficking we carry out goal-directed
work to detect cases of transportation and withdrawal of this ‘white
death’ of Afghan origin, in the routes of ‘Iran-Azerbaijan’, ‘Occupied
Nagorno-Karabakh-Iran-Azerbaijan’, ‘Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia-Japan’,
‘Iran-Azerbaijan-G eorgia-Europe’ which are very often used
transnational organized criminal group

I also want to inform you about certain data on the measures being
held with regards to drugs trafficking. Damage which criminal groups
and persons may inflict to gene pool of Azerbaijan ought to concern all
of us. Generally, over the past three years (2005-2008), the employees
of the National Security Ministry revealed and withdrew more than 1.1
tons of various kinds of drugs (heroin, hashish, opium), which were
to be transited via the territory of Azerbaijan. During this period,
70 criminal cases were filed and 240 people, including 25 foreign
citizens were instituted to investigation.

Last year the National Security Ministry had a brightest achievement
in fighting drugs trafficking, when it succeeded to detect and withdraw
142kg of high quality heroin from illegal turnover.

For the first time in their history, the law-enforcement agencies of
Azerbaijan detained such volume of heroin, and the matter is that
the destination of these drugs was one of the countries of Western
Europe. I would like to mention one more new fact on this theme. As
a result of measures taken over the past few days, more than 40kg
of heroin was withdrawn and several people were detained. Currently
operative-search measures on the case are underway and additional
commentary will be provided later.

The analysis shows that Azerbaijan still remains a transit country in
the list of narco-syndicates’ routes. This is short and profitable
route. At the same time, I would like to stress that such attempts
are prevented more decisively year by year. I think, not only the
law-enforcement agencies, but all citizens should take a direct part
in preventing drugs-related threats to our society and state.

Question: What can you say about the threats posed by the drugs
trafficking in the Azerbaijani territory which was de-facto occupied
by Armenia and out of control of the international institutes?

Answer: In fact, it is not only Azerbaijan who faces these threats. The
occupation of the Azerbaijani territory by Armenia and misuse of these
lands for the purposes of the organized crime pose threat not only
for the security of our country, but also for Europe in whole. The
governmental agencies of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that there
is a need to intensify the efforts of the international community
to combat planting, production and transportation of drugs in the
Armenian-occupied territory of Azerbaijan – Nagorno-Karabakh and
seven adjacent regions, the ‘grey zone’ which is out of the national
and international control. The criminal cases investigated earlier
revealed the facts of use of the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani lands
for criminal purposes. This territory is used not only for transit,
but also for the production of drugs which are later transported to
Europe through Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia and Armenia-Georgia routes. For
instance, the National Security Ministry neutralized a transnational
organized criminal grouping in drugs smuggling from Iran to Azerbaijan,
withdrawing some 4kg of heroine produced in the laboratories located
in this territory. The Iranian citizen who was one of the members of
this criminal grouping confirmed the above-mentioned facts. He said
that drugs are produced in the special laboratories in the Armenian
occupied Azerbaijani territory and they are transported to Europe
through the neighboring countries.

Question: Could you please mention, unless it is secret, the questions
which you regard as priority in the activities of the National Security
Ministry in the sphere of international cooperation?

Answer: Quite interesting question. Today the world has become so
global that the national security is admitted not a separate element,
but a major constituent of regional and international security. Now
no country irrespective whether it is developed or developing,
small or big, cannot flatly state on its ability to ensure its
security by itself. At present the security of any country depends
on allied relations with partner countries. The National Security
Ministry, giving a priority to maximal use of opportunities of
the international cooperation to ensure national interests, tries
to expand real and rational use of cooperation with the relevant
organizations of partner countries. On the other hand, the similarity
and identity of danger in their turn increase the importance of
cooperation between the Ministry of National Security and special
service organizations of other countries. With this respect, the
Ministry efficiently cooperates with the security institutes and
special service organizations of more than 50 partner countries,
as well as international organizations in combating terrorism and
different manifestations of transnational crime.

The cooperation is not restricted to technical assistance, training,
exchange of experience, but also contributes in the establishment
of favorable conditions for the country’s policy on the solution of
strategic tasks, including the security issues, consolidation of our
positions using the opportunities of international juridical acts
and exchange of information.

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