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Uzbek Terrorism Trial Adjourned

Scene of one of the March-April bombings in Tashkent (file photo) 2 August 2004 -- The trial of 15 people accused of involvement in attacks in the Uzbek capital Tashkent and the western city of Bukhara in late March-early April was adjourned today in the wake of bomb attacks in Tashkent on 30 July.

The 13 men and two women have been on trial in Tashkent since last week, but today the judge in the trial ordered the proceedings adjourned due to a defense attorney's illness.

Meanwhile, investigators continued to search for clues and suspects in the 30 July suicide bombings outside the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and inside the Uzbek Prosecutor-General's Office. Three embassy guards and the three suicide bombers were killed, and eight other people were injured.

A team of Israeli experts arrived in Tashkent today to help in the investigation.

Uzbek authorities are blaming members of the banned Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir for the attacks.

Today the head of the group's London office, Imran Waheed, denied any involvement.

"We believe the people of Uzbekistan and Central Asia know very well what Hizb ut-Tahrir is, that it doesn't engage in violence or armed struggle, that it is an Islamic intellectual and political entity that is working to reestablish the Islamic caliphate. This attempt by [Uzbek President Islam] Karimov is just very much an attempt to malign the party and to associate it with violence and terrorism."

Several Islamic groups have claimed responsibility for the attacks.


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