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In Georgia, Two Armenians Plead Guilty To Nuclear Smuggling


Georgia's Interior Ministry says two Armenians have pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle nuclear bomb-grade uranium into the country.

Officials say the closed-door trial of the Armenians, Sumbat Tonoyan and Hrant Ohanyan, was kept secret to protect the identity of undercover agents involved in the case.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told the French AFP news agency that in March 2010, the two men tried to sell the enriched uranium for $1.5 million to undercover agents posing as Islamic radicals, adding that their arrest was "a big success for our nuclear antismuggling unit."

The case has been evolving for months, with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili briefing world leaders on the incident at an April nuclear summit and reports saying Georgian authorities spied the two men hiding the uranium -- reportedly almost 90 percent enriched -- in a pack of cigarettes while on board a train to Tbilisi in March.

The two men face a prison sentence of at least 10 years.

compiled from agency reports
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