Azerbaijan jails Iranian for plot against Israeli embassy

Officials in Baku deny claims that Hasan Faraji was tortured; police say photos of the embassy found in suspect’s residence

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (photo credit: CC BY-teuchterlad/Flickr)
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (photo credit: CC BY-teuchterlad/Flickr)

Authorities in Azerbaijan’s capital recently jailed an Iranian man for plotting a terrorist attack against the Israeli embassy, and found photos and blueprints in his home, Channel 10 reported Wednesday.

Hasan Faraji, 31, was arrested in late October after he was seen wandering near the embassy, Azeri news site APA reported. A security guard stopped him for questioning and, after refusing to cooperate, Faraji was detained and taken to a nearby police station. He was later sentenced to 30 days in prison, but there was no indication from the report why he was incarcerated.

According to a Channel 10 News report on Wednesday, Azeri police claimed they had discovered photos and blueprints of the Israeli embassy in Faraji’s apartment.

Faraji, Azeri security forces asserted, was in contact with high level Iranian officials. The investigators further claimed that Faraji had ties to the Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ international operations unit, Channel 10 News reported.

On Monday, Iranian state run news agency Press TV issued a report claiming that Faraji was tortured by Azeri policemen during his detainment. The report was based on claims by a relative of Faraji, who spoke with the Iranian Student News Agency earlier in the week.

Press TV further charged that a delegation from the Iranian embassy in Baku was denied access to the facility in which Faraji was held.

Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry denied the accusations of torture and said Faraji was being treated with the utmost respect.

“The Interior Ministry has learned that Hasan Faraji is pleased with his conditions of detention,” a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told APA.

“Faraji confirmed that he was not subject to torture and no one has insulted his honor and dignity.”

The ministry spokesmen added that no request had been made by Iranian officials to visit Faraji, and that the Azeri government would be sure to arrange a visit should a request be filed.

Last month, an Iranian citizen was sentenced to 15 years in prison for planning an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Baku.

Twenty-two people were arrested in Azerbaijan in March on suspicion of planning to attack American, Israeli and Jewish targets, including the US and Israeli embassies, a Jewish Agency for Israel facility and an American fast-food restaurant. At least seven people have been sentenced to jail time for the planned attack, according to AFP.

In January, at least two men were arrested after planning an attack on two Israeli teachers and Chabad emissaries at the Or Avner school in Baku.

JTA contributed to this report

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