Five residents of the capital Tashkent went on public trial on October 14, all held in an iron cage in the courtroom. Charges against them include “spreading extremist religious books” and conspiring to overthrow the constitutional system, plus the panoply of drug-and-arms-related charges, common to the recent show trials of Islamists in Uzbekistan. The trials initially centered on the Namangan region, moved to Tashkent, then went into a lull for several months. The start of this latest trial appeared timed to the signing of the anti-Islamic military agreement by Presidents Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan in Tashkent (see the Monitor, October 14).–VS
ALLEGED EXTORTIONIST GANG UNVEILED IN LENINABAD REGION.