[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Uzbek court jails 23 over attacks
Image from Russian TV channel NTV shows the blast site at the marketplace in Tashkent, 29 March 2004
The attacks in Tashkent were the country's first suicide bombings
A court in Uzbekistan has sentenced 23 people to from three to 18 years in jail for their role in a series of suicide bombings and shootings.

At least 47 people, mostly police and militants, died in the attacks in Bukhara and the capital, Tashkent, earlier this year.

More than 50 people have already been jailed in connection with the attacks.

A human rights group protested the verdict, saying it had "serious concerns" over the trial's conduct.

A court spokesman said the accused had been sentenced for "attempts to overthrow the country's constitutional order, taking part in extremist religious organisations and fomenting religious and ethnic hatred", the Reuters news agency reported.

All of the defendants in the closed trial had pleaded not guilty.

Terror links

The government has blamed the series of attacks in March and April on members of a radical Islamic group, which the authorities said had links to al-Qaeda.

In a letter to President Islam Karimov, the International League for Human Rights said their investigations had shown that trials related to the attacks were "accompanied by harassment and torture of defendants while in custody".

The US-based group called on the Uzbek government to carry out "prompt, impartial and full investigations" into the allegations.

Britain's ambassador to Uzbekistan was suspended last week after criticising the British intelligence services for using intelligence allegedly obtained under torture by the Uzbek government.

His claim was strongly denied by the Foreign Office.

A UN report in 2002 said the use of torture in Uzbek prisons was "endemic".




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Monica Whitlock
"This trial is just the beginning "



SEE ALSO:
Analysis: Human rights in Uzbekistan
15 Oct 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbek blast trial hears evidence
19 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbek blast trial restarts
17 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Arrests follow Uzbekistan blasts
31 Jul 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbek trials seek answers to violence
27 Jul 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Al-Qaeda 'linked to Uzbek unrest'
01 Apr 04  |  Asia-Pacific


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific