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Iran Press TV

Azerbaijan sets up two new security services

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:57PM

Azerbaijan has set up the State Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service amid tightening security conditions in the country.

President Ilham Aliev on Monday signed a decree setting up the two services, appointing Madat Guliyev as the head of the State Security Service and Orkhan Sultanov as the chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service.

According to Azernews, the two bodies will function "on the basis" of the Ministry of National Security, which saw in mid-October its powerful head Eldar Mahmudov fired by President Aliev over corruption allegations.

In his decree, Aliev tasked the two chiefs with the submission of proposals on regulations of the two public services.

The formation of the security agencies also comes amid government crackdown on dissent and religious figures of the country's majority Shia population. At least 10 people have been killed and dozens have been arrested in raids on religious gatherings since November 26.

Opposition groups say the way Mahmudov and some 250 employees of the security ministry have been fired since October 17 shows there is no transparency in the country's political decision-making process.

Azerbaijan is a majority Shia country of more than nine million people, with Shias accounting for about 85 percent of the population.

Since coming to power, the Aliyev administration has managed to suppress various political and social movements, including a Shia-dominated popular uprising in 2010, prompting international outcry over the heavy-handed crackdown.;

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