Ex-president of Azerbaijan dies

The fomer president of Azerbaijan, Haidar Aliyev, has died in an American clinic.

    Aliyev was widely condemned for corruption and rights abuses

    Aliyev, 80, had been hospitalised in Cleveland since 6 August where he was being

     treated for heart and kidney problems.

    He was flown to Turkey and then America for treatment after collapsing while giving a speech live on

    television in January

    .

    Aliyev was one of the top officials in the former Soviet Union

    who kept a grip on power after the collapse of communism.

    Dynastic succession

    A former general in the Soviet intelligence, the KGB, he was

    named the communist party's first secretary in Azerbaijan, and became

    a member of the Soviet Communist Party politburo

    .

    He was elected president of the independent Azerbaijan in 1993.

    Aliyev was widely criticised abroad for corruption in his

    country and for his authoritarian rule. But many Azeris still

    respected their leader, who they called "Baba", or grandfather.

    The former president's son, Ilham, won widely discredited elections in October to take over the presidency from his fath

    er.

    Tahir Taghi-Zadeh, a spokesman for the Azerbaijan embassy in

    Washington,

    said the former president's body would be flown back

    to Azerbaijan in the next two days.

    SOURCE: AFP


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