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Azerbaijani Army, Security Officers Sentenced

6 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An Azerbaijani military court has sentenced 14 army and security officers to prison sentences of between three and eight years on charges of corruption.

The verdicts were made public yesterday.

Another defendant received a one-year suspended sentence, and two others were fined.

Their lawyers on Monday said they will appeal the court verdicts.

The 17 officers have been convicted of accepting bribes from young men seeking to avoid conscription, neglecting their duties, and forging documents.

Azerbaijani prosecutors have cited their trial as evidence of the government's efforts to curb corruption in the military.

But some opposition leaders and rights campaigners have alleged that the case is politically motivated and is aimed at cleansing the army of elements considered not loyal enough to President Ilham Aliyev.

(RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service/Trend)