BAKU: Azeri Opp threatens Russian envoy with extradition campaign

Azeri opposition party threatens Russian envoy with extradition campaign

Ekho, Baku
15 Apr 04

Text of T. Alili’s report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekho on 15 April
headlined “The Hope Party asks to summon to court Russian envoy” and
subheaded “The opposition believes that Nikolay Ryabov could be
summoned to trial as witness”

“The Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Nikolay Ryabov, must be
summoned as witness to the trial of the opposition leaders charged
with organization of the 15-16 October riots,” Anvar Agayev, deputy
chairman for media issues of the Hope Party, has said.

“Ryabov said that MP Iqbal Agazada, the chairman of the Hope Party, is
the organizer and instigator of the 15-16 October events during his
interview in the 16 October 2003 evening news bulletin Xabarlar on the
state-run station [Channel One]. Such remarks by the ambassador
testify to the truth of numerous reports linking [Russia’s former
Interior Minister Vladimir] Rushaylo, [ex-chief of the Russian
president’s administration Aleksandr] Voloshin, and the group Alfa
[special-purpose unit] with the 15-16 October events.”

“We reckon that Russia is implicated in the arrest of Agazada because
of his repeated remarks in Milli Maclis [Azerbaijani parliament]
against handing over to Russia the Qabala radar station. He also
offered evidence on the Russian army’s involvement in the Xocali
massacre [during the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagornyy
Karabakh]. It seems the position of the chairman of the Hope Party has
affected the Russian ambassador’s attitude to him,” Agayev said.

“The ambassador of a foreign country interferes in public and
political developments in Azerbaijan, and accuses an MP of organizing
some events. By this he proves the interest of his country in those
processes,” Agayev said.

Should the court fail to summon Ryabov, then the Hope Party “will
start a campaign to extradite Ryabov from Azerbaijan as ‘persona non
grata'”, Agayev said.

The Russian embassy has refused to comment on Agayev’s remarks.

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