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U.S. To Look Into Uzbek Trial Proceedings

Washington, 25 August 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The United States says it will look into allegations that a court in Uzbekistan unfairly convicted defendants on charges stemming from a recent wave of violence.

Human rights campaigners contend the guilty pleas were obtained through torture and have questioned the validity of the proceedings.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters that the U.S. government will look into the matter.

Yesterday's verdict was the first against those accused of involvement in shoot-outs and suicide bombings that swept Uzbekistan in March and April, killing almost 50 people. Other trials are due to follow, with dozens more suspects in custody.

The U.S. State Department said yesterday that the U.S. government has received information that terrorists may be planning to launch new attacks in Uzbekistan around the time of the country's Independence Day celebrations in early September.