. A Committee for the rights of arrested Islamic activists held a news conference in a mosque close to Baku yesterday. The group appealed to President Haydar Aliev to approve on medical grounds the release on bail of nine Party of Islam activists who were detained last spring. The group, whose leading figure is Haji Alikram, were said to have contracted diseases while in detention. They are accused of anti-state activity, sending disciples to Iran, and espionage in favor of a "foreign state" — another apparent reference to Iran. (Turan, October 1) The Party and the committee are not legally recognized. The detention of this group has been a sore point in Azerbaijan-Iran relations. Iran has also criticized Azerbaijan’s constitution and general choice of secular development, which the Azerbaijani Islamists seek to change.
Increasing Uzbek Influence in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.