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Azerbaijani Oppositionist Still Held In Ukraine

Simferopol, 18 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian police say Azerbaijani opposition leader Rasul Quliyev will be held in Ukraine until his case is made clear.

Based on an Interpol warrant, Quliyev was held by Ukrainian police yesterday in Crimea's capital Simferopol. He said he was en route to Azerbaijan after almost a decade in exile to run in the country's 6 November parliamentary vote.

The president of Azerbaijan's state-run airlines, Jahangir Asgerov, says Azeri authorities gave permission for the plane to land in Baku, but that the company operating the flight refused. Oleksandr Dombrovskiy, head of the Crimean police press office, said the length of Quliyev's stay in Ukraine will be decided by materials which Azerbaijan sends to Ukrainian authorities.

"His [Quliyev's] future will depend on the initiator of the warrant, on the charges presented by Azerbaijan, by the Azerbaijani prosecutor's office. We have up to 40 days to examine this case until we receive all the extradition documents for this person," Dombrovskiy said.

Quliyev, a former parliamentary speaker and the current chairman of the opposition Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, faces embezzlement charges in Azerbaijan. He denies the charges. Azerbaijani authorities have said that they have a jail cell waiting for Quliyev when he returns to Azerbaijan.

(RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir, Azerbaijani, and Ukrainian services)