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Azerbaijani Court Sentences Quba Protesters

A protester shouts at a policeman during a demonstration in the central square of Quba on March 1.
QUBA, Azerbaijan -- A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced two participants in violent protests in March to four and five years in jail.

The court in the northeastern Quba district handed down suspended three-year sentences to seven other defendants on December 14.

The rulings come a day after one participant in the protests was sentenced to four years and three months in jail and another to five years.

Six more defendants were released from custody with suspended three-year sentences.

Some 1,000 demonstrators broke windows of government buildings in Quba on March 1 and set fire to a house belonging to the local governor, demanding his resignation.

Security forces responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Several people were injured.

The unrest came after the governor publicly called Quba residents "traitors" for selling their land cheaply.