BAKU (Reuter–Itar-Tass) — Ziya Buniyatov–a historian and prominent political figure in Azerbaijan– was stabbed and shot to death as he walked home from work Friday–police said.
Police said they did not yet know the motive for the killing of Buniyatov–75–a member of parliament who was also vice-president of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences.
He was returning from the parliament building in the center of Baku when an unknown number of attackers stabbed him four times and shot him once. He was operated on in the hospital but later died.
Buniyatov–was one of Azeribaijan’s most visible political figuresa member of the ruling New Azerbaijan party of President Gaidar Aliyev who had been made a "Hero of the Soviet Union" before the fall of communism.
His son was commandant of the city of Baku when it was under martial law in the early 1990s.
The murder of Ziya Buniyatov was carried out to destabilize the situation in Azerbaijan–the party’s leadership said–convinced that his assassination was part of the same conspiracy in which the deputy speaker of the Azeri parliament and Aliyev’s chief of staff were killed in September of 1994–a few days before a coup attempt was exposed and thwarted in Azerbaijan.
Opposition leaders–Etibar Mamedov–chairman of the National Independence Party–circulated a statement describing the murder of Buniyatov as an act against Azerbaijan’s statehood.
An investigating team has been formed by the Prosecutor’s Office.