'Terror attack' thwarted in Azerbaijan

Thu 19 Jan 2012 10:52 GMT | 14:52 Local Time

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Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry has detained members of a gang which it says was planning to assassinate foreigners in Baku.

Azerbaijani citizens Rasim Farail oglu Aliyev, Ali Alihamza oglu Huseynov, Balagardash Alisafa oglu Dadashov and others were found to be conspiring to kill foreign citizens working in Baku, the National Security Ministry public affairs centre told APA.

Balagardash Dadashov is living in the Iranian city of Ardabil and was already wanted on charges of banditry and kidnap.

The suspects are also charged with smuggling firearms, munitions and explosives into Azerbaijan as part of the conspiracy and to have committed other illegal acts.

The National Security Ministry gave the following account of the plot.

Balagardash Dadashov, who had contacts with Iranian intelligence agencies, met his brother-in-law Rasim Aliyev in his flat in Ardabil in August 2011, and ordered him to kill foreigners working in Baku "in order to put an end to their public service". (The phraseology appears to imply foreign diplomats.)

Dadashov promised Rasim Aliyev $150,000 in payment. Aliyev accepted the proposal and showed him photographs of the intended targets and their cars and maps of their workplaces. Dadashov gave Aliyev a payment of AZN 9,300 for preliminary work.

Rasim Aliyev then asked Ali Huseynov, who can use firearms, to carry out the killings, promising him half of the money he would receive for the assassinations. Huseynov agreed and Aliyev gave him $7,000 at different times for preparatory work, including the purchase of cars, and showed him the maps and photographs of the intended victims and their cars.

Huseynov spent some of the money on the purchase and repair of a BMW and other equipment.

Following surveillance of the workplaces of the intended victims, Ali Huseynov decided to use a sniper rifle for the assassinations as the many security cameras and other security measures ruled out shooting at close range. Huseynov also planned for the option of shooting his victims with a pistol near their homes.

He told Rasim Aliyev that he would need a Russian-made sniper rifle with a silencer and a Makarov pistol. Aliyev went to Iran to report back to Dadashov who in turn said he would find the weapons.

Some time later, Rasim Aliyev went back to Ardabil for another meeting with Balagardash Dadashov. Dadashov said that the weapons would be hidden in a specific location in Bilasuvar District, which borders Iran, and told Rasim Aliyev to pick the weapons up there. Aliyev said the spot was dangerous and suggested another drop-off point that he had agreed with Huseynov. He gave Dadashov a small map showing the location. 

Dadashov consulted the Iranian security services, who disagreed with the proposal. He told Rasim Aliyev that the weapons would be hidden at the agreed location on the 150th kilometre of the Baku-Astara highway in Bilasuvar District.

Dadashov organized the smuggling from Iran of one SVD sniper rifle with two silencers and two loaded magazines for the rifle, one telescopic sight, three Makarov pistols with three silencers and three sets of ammunition, 3.8 kg of plastic explosives, 10 electric detonators and two packages of 117 7.62-mm and 112 9-mm bullets. The weapons cache was hidden at the agreed location on the Baku-Astara highway.

The National Security Ministry said it intervened before the gang could carry out the killings. Rasim Aliyev and Ali Huseynov were detained and the weapons cache found.

The National Security Ministry's Main Investigation Department is conducting an investigation under Criminal Code Articles 28.277 (preparing an assassination attempt on a public figure), 206.3.2 (the smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives) and 228.2.1 (illegal possession or storage of arms, ammunition and explosives). Rasim Aliyev and Ali Huseynov are being kept in pre-trial custody by court decision.

The investigation is continuing.




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