According to Uzbek official media, the Namangan trial in which four Muslim activists were sentenced to prison (see the Monitor, May 12 and 13) was followed by three more trials with a similar outcome. In one case, the Namangan regional court sentenced three members of a group accused of having received “campaign training” (the term could imply political and/or paramilitary training) in Pakistan. In another case, the same court sentenced four members of a group accused of planning to start a “holy war” in Fergana region. These defendants supposedly were trained by Uzbek “Islamic Warriors” leader Juma Namangani in a Tajik haven. And in yet another case, the former prayer leader at a central mosque in the city of Namangan was sentenced on charges not reported in these official media accounts.
The four cases involved twelve defendants. Nine of them received prison terms ranging from five to eight years. Three defendants, including the prayer leader, received unspecified sentences “fitting their crimes,” a formula that might imply longer terms. Further trials are being prepared. (Uzbek Television, May 17; Khalk Sozy (Tashkent), May 15).–VS
NEW UZBEK LAW ON RELIGION CLARIFIED.