Azerbaijan's ex-president returns from exile

AP News
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Posted: Aug 09, 2011 5:55 AM
Azerbaijan's ex-president returns from exile

Azerbaijan's first post-Soviet leader, Ayaz Mutallibov, has returned to his home country for the first time after 19 years in exile to attend his son's funeral.

Araz Alizade, who co-founded Azerbaijan's Social Democratic Party, said Tuesday that Mutallibov's son died of cancer and is to be buried at the family plot in the capital, Baku.

Mutallibov was elected Azerbaijan's Communist Party boss and led the Caspian Sea nation when it gained independence in the December 1991 Soviet collapse. He was ousted from office a few months later and fled to Russia.

Mutalibov is facing criminal charges in Azerbaijan for his role in a Soviet troop crackdown on protesters in Baku in 1990, but Alizade says the government has granted Mutallibov immunity out of respect for his son's death.