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Afghan Citizen Arrested in Azerbaijan for Alleged Terrorist Plot

By Ilham Karimli July 10, 2023

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Administrative building of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan / Anar Mustafayev / Sputnik Kazakhstan

A citizen of Afghanistan was arrested on Monday in Azerbaijan on charges of planning to commit a terrorist act within the country’s territory.

Azerbaijan’s State Security Service (SSS) reported that the investigations revealed that Fawzan Mosa Khan, born in 1990, conspired in advance with other individuals to disrupt public stability in Azerbaijan, create panic among the population, and influence decision-making by state authorities and international organizations through a terrorist act.

According to the SSS, Fawzan Mosa Khan planned an explosion, fire, or similar events to kill people, cause harm to their health, and inflict significant property damage that could lead to socially dangerous situations.

“It was established that this foreign national arrived to the Republic of Azerbaijan from a foreign country with the intention of committing the abovementioned criminal acts and in order to identify the coordinates of a third country embassy and plan a terroristic act conducted a surveillance of the embassy building, attempted to identify and enroll individuals to participate in the terrorist act, obtained firearms and explosives, and conspired with other persons to receive financial support for this activity,” the SSS said in a statement on Monday.

Fawzan Musa Khan was apprehended and detained as a suspect under a criminal case launched in accordance with articles 28, 214.2.1, and 28, 214.2.3 (preparation for the commission of terrorist acts by using firearms and objects used as weapons as a group of previously colluding individuals) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. A preventive detention measure was implemented for him by a court decision. The SSS is currently conducting comprehensive investigative and operational measures, as well as international legal procedural measures, to fully identify the group of individuals who planned the terrorist act.

Previously, in February, the SSS arrested Azerbaijani national recruited by the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He was charged with facilitating the transfer of monthly funds and food to the terrorists and their families who were involved in armed conflicts.

The Azerbaijani government has made significant efforts to neutralize all types of terrorist threats to its people, internal order, and sovereignty. In the 2020 Country Reports on Terrorism, the US Department of State designated Azerbaijan as a country free from terrorism, attributing this achievement to well-coordinated anti-terrorism activities carried out by various government entities.

“In 2020 the Azerbaijani government actively worked to deter, detect and defeat terrorist efforts to move people, money, and materials across its land and maritime borders and within the South Caucasus. Azerbaijani law enforcement and security services historically have conducted operations to disrupt and prevent terror attacks, arrested and prosecuted suspected terrorists, and prosecuted returning Azerbaijanis suspected of joining or financing terrorist groups fighting outside Azerbaijan,” the report stated, adding that no terrorist incidents were reported in the country in 2020.

According to the report, close coordination between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service, involving the State Border Service and the State Customs Committee, yielded positive results in preventing terrorist acts and efforts within the country. Government bodies utilized terrorist and criminal watchlists, as well as biographic/biometric screening at entry points. Furthermore, they shared data with each other and with regional and international partners to prevent any terrorism-related activities, including the transportation of people, money, and materials, including weapons of mass destruction (WMD), across Azerbaijan’s territory.

Azerbaijan’s law on the Fight against Terrorism identifies activities considered as terrorism and provides definitions and punishments for those involved in such activities. According to the law, a terrorist is someone directly or indirectly engaged in deliberate acts of terrorism as an organizer, instigator, assistant, executor, or supporter, and also knowingly assists a terrorist group, organized group, or criminal community in carrying out terror activities. According to the legislation and interstate treaties to which the country is a party, these individuals can be prosecuted and punished, or they may be extradited to foreign countries for criminal liability or the enforcement of assigned penalties.