Azerbaijan’s prosecutor general Eldar Hasanov left Moscow for Baku yesterday without Ayaz Mutalibov, the former Communist party leader and ex-president of Azerbaijan, whose extradition is being sought by Baku on charges of treason and armed rebellion. Mutalibov was arrested April 11 by order of the Russian prosecutor general’s office at the request of Azerbaijan and was promptly hospitalized under heavy guard, pending a decision on extradition. Russian officials claimed the evidence supplied by Baku was insufficient and that the extradition request would be denied. Unless evidence satisfactory to the Russian authorities was submitted, they said, Mutalibov would be released within 30 days of the arrest. An official of the Russian general prosecutor’s office said that Mutalibov considers himself the legal president of Azerbaijan in exile. (Interfax, May 1; Rossiiskaya Gazeta, April 27)
Mutalibov fled to Moscow in 1992 and has been accused of involvement in abortive coups and other subversive actions against the government of Azerbaijan. Baku has been requesting his extradition since 1993. The Russian Duma adopted a resolution April 18 directly prompted by the Mutaliev case which opposes extradition on account of "political convictions." Moscow extradited Azerbaijan’s former defense minister Rahim Gaziev two weeks ago, also on treason charges, but it appears committed to holding onto Mutalibov. Former prime minister Suret Huseinov, also a major pro-Moscow conspirator sought by Baku, was apparently allowed to slip out of Moscow.
Uzbekistan Economic Update.