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Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Azerbaijan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 May 2013
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Azerbaijan, 30 May 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51a86e993d6.html [accessed 24 July 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Azerbaijan actively opposed terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus. The country continued to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts and had some success in both reducing the presence of terrorist facilitators and hampering their activities.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: On January 19, Azerbaijan's Ministry of National Security announced that it had arrested two Azerbaijani citizens, and was pursuing a third Azerbaijani citizen living in Iran, for planning to assassinate two foreign rabbis teaching at a Jewish school in Baku. Authorities presented evidence, including seized weapons and cash, connecting Iranian intelligence services to these individuals and the terrorist plot.

In March, Azerbaijani security services reported the arrest of 22 individuals, all Azerbaijani citizens, accused of working with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to carry out terrorist attacks against Western embassies and other groups with Western ties.

On April 6, security services conducted a raid on a suspected violent extremist group in Ganja, resulting in a standoff in which one militant and one law enforcement officer were killed. The raid was part of a sweep throughout the country that resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals and the confiscation of assault rifles, ammunition, hand grenades, remote controlled explosives, and communication equipment, among other items.

In May, Azerbaijan's security service reported it had arrested 40 terrorist suspects and thwarted planned terrorist attacks during the May Eurovision Song Contest held in Baku. Planned targets during the event included major hotels frequented by foreigners as well as the song contest venue.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Azerbaijan is a member of Moneyval, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In order to bring Azerbaijan's legislative framework into conformity with international standards and requirements, including those of the EU and FATF, a significant number of legislative acts – four codes, 15 laws, and six presidential decrees covering more than 100 articles – have been amended but the Financial Monitoring Service (FMS), Azerbaijan's Financial Intelligence Unit, since 2009. Azerbaijan continued to work with Moneyval to address the full range of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) issues identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report. The U.S. government, primarily USAID and Treasury, has been one of the leading partners of the FMS since its formation in 2009, working with it along with the Prosecutors office and others to provide technical assistance and training to upgrade enforcement capabilities, which included four distinct training sessions on AML/CTF issues in FY 2012.

The Government of Azerbaijan has legislation in place that permits the freezing of assets without delay, and has presented a draft law to Parliament that proposes additional measures to streamline and simplify the confiscation and release of frozen assets. UN lists are updated and submitted to reporting institutions. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: In 2012, Azerbaijan began a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, supporting various terrorism-related UNSCRs. In May, Azerbaijan held the presidency of the UNSC, which focused on strengthening international cooperation in the implementation of counterterrorism obligations. Azerbaijan also participated in the Istanbul Process and supported counterterrorism confidence building measures referred to in the June 14 Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference Declaration. Azerbaijan also took part in working group meetings of Caspian Sea littoral states to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at countering terrorism as well as smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime on the Caspian.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Azerbaijan restricts religious activity, including television broadcasts and the sale of religious literature at metro stations. Only imams trained and licensed in Azerbaijan were permitted to give religious sermons and to lead Muslim religious ceremonies. Critics claimed that by driving the practice of religion underground, these governmental policies could ultimately contribute to the growth of violent extremism. We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm) for further information.

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