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Body of former Azerbaijan leader is home

Dec. 14, 2003 at 5:47 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The body of former Azerbaijan president Heydar Aliyev was flown home to the capital of Baku as a week of mourning officially began Sunday.

The former KGB general died Friday in a Cleveland, Ohio, hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for congestive heart failure.

Health problems forced him to resign his 30-year presidency in October. He was succeeded by his son Ilham Aliyev, in an election marred by violence.

Thousands of people lined the streets of with flowers and candles as the coffin of the former president arrived, the BBC reported.

Up to a million mourners, including Russia's Vladimir Putin, were expected in the capital Monday for Aliyev's state funeral.

Although his human rights policies were often criticized in the West, Aliyev brought stability to the oil-rich country and helped attract foreign investment, the BBC said.

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