Russian authorities last week extradited to Azerbaijan three associates — including a close relative — of the former Azerbaijani prime minister Suret Huseinov. Detained on Russian territory, they are accused of involvement in the October 1994, OPON coup against President Haidar Aliev. Also last week, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan sentenced two other supporters of Huseinov to long prison terms for having set up paramilitary groups in another abortive coup on Huseinov’s behalf. (Azadlyg, December 11; Itar-Tass, December 12; Turan, December 15)
In August and September, Russia extradited at least three other associates of Huseinov to Azerbaijan. Huseinov himself was turned over to Baku by Moscow last March. A rogue businessman turned paramilitary chieftain in Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, and then prime minister in Baku, "Colonel" Huseinov staged two Russian-supported rebellions in 1993, fled to Russia, and from there had a hand in the 1994 coup. In the last year or so, Moscow has tended to treat fugitive Azeri rebels — except Communists — as a currency of exchange in Russian-Azerbaijani relations. Aliev has publicly acknowledged this as one of the few bright spots in those relations.
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