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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 21:46 GMT
Azeri top crime-fighter gets life
Map of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's former chief of criminal investigations has been jailed for life for leading a 26-member gang on a 10-year murder spree.

Haci Mammadov was one of 10 people, including fellow officers, handed life sentences for a series of killings and kidnappings between 1995 and 2005.

Fifteen other gang members received sentences of between two and 15 years.

Prosecutors said the gang had killed 13 people and kidnapped 12 relatives of businessmen among other charges.

The gang received about $5m (2.5m) in ransom money. The court found the men guilty on all counts, including 10 acts of robbery and violence and 12 economic crimes.

Among those handed life sentences was former deputy Interior Minister Zakir Nasirov, who was stripped of his general's rank.

Another 13 defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 15 years, while two others were given two-year suspended sentences. One was released, court officials said.

Four of the defendants, including three sentenced to life, were Russian citizens of Chechen origin.

Among the gang's victims was the head of the interior ministry's narcotics unit and the vice president of Azerbaijan's Association of Soccer Federations.

The six-month trial took place in the former Soviet republic's capital, Baku.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Azerbaijan
08 Jun 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Azerbaijan
25 May 05 |  Country profiles

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