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Azerbaijan: Opposition Leader Detained

By Mirza Michaeli

Prague, 15 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Our Baku correspondent reports that an Azerbaijan opposition leader was detained by police authorities today just before the start of a news conference.

Nemat Panahov, leader of the opposition National Statehood Party, was detained by police before the start of a news conference he intended to hold in Baku to commemorate the 8th anniversary of mass rallies of November 17, 1988.

In 1988, he was one of the leaders of the mass demonstrations and rallies directed against Armenian demands on Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as against the Soviet communist regime in Azerbaijan.

Panahov is also a former adviser to Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliev. He resigned from his official post several months ago to protest against Aliev's policies and against widespread corruption in the government.

Our correspondent reports that police officers arrested Panov today 10 minutes before the start of his press conference. It is not known whether Panov is still being held.