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Azerbaijani Authorities Say Former Leaders Face Arrest

Ayaz Mutalibov (file photo) (official site) 15 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General Zakir Qaralov today warned former President Ayaz Mutalibov and another prominent political exile against returning to Azerbaijan to take part in the 6 November legislative elections, saying they would face immediate arrest.

Addressing reporters in Baku, Qaralov said nothing prevented Mutalibov and former parliament speaker Rasul Quliyev from being registered as candidates in the upcoming polls. But he said both men, who are wanted for allegedly plotting against the state, would be detained upon their arrival.

Mutalibov, who served as president in 1991-92, has been iving in exile in Russia since his resignation. Quliyev is the chairman of Azerbaijan's Democratic Party. He has been living in exile since 1996.

The Council of Europe has long been pressing council member Azerbaijan to allow both men return and take part in the country's political life.


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