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BAKU, January 8. /TASS/. The head of the local council of elders in a community near the capital Baku was arrested on Thursday and charged with high treason, the state security service said.
According to the statement there is sufficient evidence the elders’ chief, Natig Kerimov, had been recruited by a foreign secret service and "for a long time spied to the detriment of the state security of Azerbaijan."
Local media say a district court in Baku remanded Kerimov in custody for four months.
At the end of last November the Nardaran community near Baku saw clashes between police and radical Islamists, who offered armed resistance. Two police and four radical Islamists were killed in the shootout. A fifth militant died of wounds in hospital later. Police arrested fourteen members of the illegal radical group calling itself Muslim Unity and its leader, theologian Talekh Bagirov.
Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry and Prosecutor-General’s Office say the group had plotted "forcible change of the country’s constitutional system and creation of a religious state ruled by Sharia law" as well as terrorist attacks against officials.