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Azerbaijani Parliament Grants President Immunity

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with his wife Mehriban Aliyeva
The parliament of Azerbaijan has granted the country's president and his wife lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution for any acts committed while in office.

Government opponents have frequently accused President Ilham Aliyev and his family of using power to amass huge riches.

Two previous incumbents, including Aliyev's father, have died.

But the former Soviet republic's first head of state, Ayaz Mutalibov, currently lives in Moscow and faces a number of criminal charges in Azerbaijan.

The immunity legislation could potentially pave the way for his return, as all former presidents and first ladies are eligible to benefit from the new law.

Parliament deputy Ali Huseynov, who presented the draft law in the parliament, said the legislation should be deemed part of the country's democratic development.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS