(AP) - An Azerbaijani court on Monday handed down prison sentences to six protesters arrested in June for causing disturbances at a NATO forum attended by Armenian officers.
The defendants convicted by a court in the capital Baku are members of the Organization for the Liberation of Karabakh, a group that opposes ethnic Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The organization's head, Famil Nasibov, was sentenced to five years in prison, his deputy Firidum Mammadov to three years, while three members of the group's youth branch received four-year sentences. Their lawyers said they will appeal.
The protesters pushed through police cordons, broke glass doors and stormed into a conference hall in Baku' Europe hotel where a NATO forum was being held in June, calling on Azerbaijan to stop negotiating with neighboring Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. The protesters and hotel security guards suffered minor injuries in the incident in the hotel and the meeting resumed in several minutes.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are not NATO members, but both participate in the alliance's Partnership for Peace program.