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Azerbaijani Minister Arrested, Others Dismissed in Cabinet Shake-Up

Azerbaijani authorities say they have arrested former Economic Development Minister Farhad Aliyev just three weeks before parliamentary elections, on charges of helping exiled opposition leader Rasul Guliyev plan a coup.

Azerbaijani authorities announced the arrest Thursday, a day after President Ilham Aliyev dismissed him from his post. The two men are not related.

Officials say President Aliyev also fired Health Minister Ali Insanov today, while security officials searched the home of Education Minister Misir Mardanov.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian court has released Mr. Guliyev, who was detained Monday on an international warrant. The court said Thursday there were insufficient grounds to hold Mr. Guliyev, who was trying to return home to run for parliament after nine years in the United States.

Mr. Guliyev faces criminal charges in Azerbaijan. In a Thursday interview with VOA Azerbaijani Service, he echoed opposition complaints that the government is trying to rig the November vote.