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Russia Extradites Former Tajik Interior Minister

Moscow, 24 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Russian authorities turned over Tajikistan's former interior minister to Tajik officials who will take him back to Tajikistan to face criminal charges.

Russian officials delivered Yakub Salimov, who is wanted on charges of organizing an attempted coup against the Tajik government in 1997. Russian special services detained Salimov last June and he has been held in the Lefortovo prison since.

Ramazon Rahimov, Tajikistan's representative to Russia's Interior Ministry, confirmed Salimov was taken to the airport, but said there were some technical details that still needed to be worked out before Salimov would be flown back to Tajikistan.

"We were there [at the airport], the border guards have not agreed on all the technical details. He [Salimov] is there now, he will be transported tomorrow morning. Now everything is resolved between the prosecutors of the two countries," Rahimov said.

Salimov was interior minister from 1992 to 1995, then served as Tajikistan's ambassador to Turkey before returning to Tajikistan and taking up the post of chairman of the country's Customs Commission. Salimov was also a commander of Popular Front units, paramilitary forces that fought on the government side during the 1992-97 Tajik civil war.