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Plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin uncovered Copyright APonline

The Associated Press

BAKU, Azerbaijan (October 16, 2001 4:58 p.m. EDT) - A Iraqi citizen planned to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Azerbaijan, the country's national security minister said in an interview published this week.

Namik Abbasov also said Azerbaijani authorities were considering a closure order against a Kuwaiti charitable group over its alleged links to terrorism.

Putin visited Azerbaijan in January amid unprecedented security. Abbasov, speaking to the state-run newspaper Bakinsky Rabochii, said that three to four months before the visit, Azerbaijan's security services received information about a plot to kill Putin.

"We received the signal, followed it and about 10 days before the visit knew for sure about the explosives brought and handed over to one of the organizers," the paper quoted Abbasov as saying.

"Fearing that we may miss the explosives, that they would be handed over to other forces and the attack would be carried out by forces unknown to us, we arrested this man along with the explosives," Abbasov added.

The man, identified as Kianan Rostam, has been put on trial and sentenced, Abbasov said. He did not give details about the man's possible motives or those unspecified forces that were behind the assassination plot. The National Security Ministry declined comment.

Speaking late Tuesday on Azerbaijan's national television, Abbasov said Rostam was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a closed-door trial.

The Kremlin had no comment on Abbasov's report and Russia's FSB security service said it had "no such information." A spokesman for the Russian State Guard Service, which is responsible for Putin's security, was not immediately available.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 17, 2001

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