Russia Extradites Huesynov to Azerbaijan

BAKU (Reuter)–Former Azeri prime minister Suret Huseynov–extradited from Russia after a long campaign by Baku–arrived here Thursday to face charges of treason and armed rebellion and a possible death penalty. Security officials said Huseynov–the most wanted man in Azerbaijan for allegedly plotting an attempted coup against President Gaidar Aliyev in 1994–arrived in handcuffs on a scheduled plane from Moscow at 5 a.m. They added that he was arrested near the central Russian town of Tula on March 20. Azeri officials also accuse Huseynov–39–appointed premier by Aliyev in July 1993–of involvement in an attempted coup in 1995 and of trying to organize a 1996 attempt on the life of the 73-year old leader–in which a group of assailants allegedly planned to shoot down his presidential plane. The Azeri government had been seeking Huseynov’s extradition for more than two years and his continued presence in Russia was a major stumbling block to improving generally poor ties between the two countries since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Political analysts said the timing of the extradition was significant–showing that Moscow wanted to improve relations before Friday’s summit of the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States–a loose union of 12 former Soviet republics. Huseynov’s photograph graces most-wanted lists across the former Soviet republic and Baku has been pressing Moscow to find and extradite him.

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