Azeri Opposition Party Leader Attacked in Southern District

Isa Qambar, the Azeri opposition leader who plans to run for president in October, was assaulted by a mob during a visit today to a southern district near the Iranian border, the party said in an e-mailed statement.

About 100 people attacked Qambar and fellow party members, beating them and smashing their cars, said Musavat, or Equality, Azerbaijan’s main opposition and oldest political party, established in 1911. Police didn’t intervene, according to the statement.

Ehsan Zahidov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, declined to comment immediately when called on his mobile.

President Ilham Aliyev, who beat Qambar in disputed presidential elections in 2003, is expected to run for a third term in office this year. His father, Heydar Aliyev, had led Azerbaijan for the better part of three decades before stepping down in October 2003 and dying later that year.

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