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Azerbaijani Ex-President Returns From Exile

Azerbaijan's first post-Soviet president Ayaz Mutalibov (file photo)
BAKU -- Azerbaijan's first head of state, Ayaz Mutalibov, has returned to Baku after two decades of exile in Russia.

Mutalibov, 74, had been accused of involvement in a crackdown on pro-independence protests in January 1990 – dubbed Black January – which killed dozens of people.

At that time, Mutalibov was the Soviet Azerbaijan republic's Communist Party head.

He later took over as independent Azerbaijan's first president. He was forced out of the presidency in 1992 and departed for Moscow.

Recently approved legislation in Azerbaijan regarding former heads of state has paved the way for the return of Mutalibov, who earlier this year announced he would abstain from politics.

The law approved in June grants heads of state immunity for acts committed while in office.

With reporting by AP