Ex-president Mutallibov returns to Baku

Azerbaijan`s first head of state, Ayaz Mutallibov, returned to Baku on Saturday after a 20-year stay in Russia.

Mutallibov, 74, had been accused of involvement in a crackdown on pro-independence protests in January 1990 - dubbed Black January - which killed dozens of people. At that time, Mutallibov was the Soviet Azerbaijan republic`s Communist Party head.

Mediaforum website reported that Mutallibov was greeted at the airport by his family members and supporters, Araz Alizada, chairman of the Azerbaijan Social Democratic Party (ASDP) the former president co-chaired until recently, and former officials who served during his presidency.

The ex-president a few days ago decided to end his political career and announced withdrawal from the ASDP.

Mutallibov headed to his house on the outskirts of Baku in a special vehicle allocated by the state.

Mutallibov headed Azerbaijan in 1990 and in October 1991 was elected the republic`s first president. On March 6, 1992, he tendered his resignation. Mutallibov returned to power on May 14 that year, but a day later, he turned down the presidency under pressure of the public movement, left the country and has since lived in Moscow. In the past years, he came back to Azerbaijan only once -- in August 2011 -- when his son died, with permission from President Ilham Aliyev.

Several criminal cases have been launched against Mutallibov in his home country. In 2003, an Azerbaijani court ordered Mutallibov held in detention and a search was announced for the ex-president.

Mutallibov was able to return to Azerbaijan only after the country`s parliament adopted a constitutional law in June 2012 on providing security for former presidents and their families. The law grants heads of state immunity for acts committed while in office.

The law also provides an ex-president with a state car and bodyguards as well as a pension amounting to 50 percent of the incumbent president`s salary.