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Azerbaijani Officials Implicated In Kidnapping Ring

11 March 2005 -- Authorities in Azerbaijan say top law enforcement officials are among 12 suspects arrested in connection with a series of high-profile killings and kidnappings.

Police made the arrests yesterday during a raid to free a bank president's wife who had been held hostage.

Prosecutors and senior officials said today the suspects arrested include Haji Mammedov, a senior officer in the Interior Ministry's criminal investigations department.

They said the group is behind a number of other kidnappings. They also said it was involved in several killings, including that of Fatulla Huseynov, an opposition party leader and vice president of Azerbaijan's Association of Soccer Federations.