Azerbaijani authorities appeal for information on journalist's killing

Azerbaijan's law enforcement agencies appealed for information Saturday that could help solve the murder of a journalist.

The opposition has blamed the former Soviet republic's leadership for the killing of Elmar Huseinov. President Ilham Aliev has countered by calling the murder a provocation for unrest.

A joint investigation team formed by the prosecutor general's office, Interior Ministry and National Security Ministry said in a statement that it was seeking to identify and bring to justice those who ordered and carried out the assassination.

The investigators said they hoped "for active support of every citizen, and guarantee anonymity to anyone volunteering information and if necessary, will ensure the safety of those assisting the investigation."

Huseinov, the 38-year-old founder and editor of the opposition magazine Monitor, was shot dead Wednesday in the lobby of his Baku apartment building.

Opposition leaders have accused the authorities of involvement.

The president warned against using it to foment unrest.

Tensions between the government and the opposition in tightly controlled Azerbaijan have increased since the October 2003 election in which Aliev replaced his father, longtime leader Geidar Aliev, in a vote the opposition says was marred by fraud.

Many governments in former Soviet republics have been wary of a challenge to their rule since "people power" revolutions swept pro-Western leaders to power in Georgia and Ukraine

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