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Uzbekistan Jails 20 For Extremism

7 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A court in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, today sentenced 20 people to jail for extremist activities, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

The 20 were sentenced to terms of between five and 17-and-a-half years. They were accused of belonging to outlawed Islamic extremist groups and of plotting to overthrow the government.

The men -- all in their 20s -- are from the same neighborhood in Tashkent.

Today's verdict sparked anger among relatives, who had gathered outside the courthouse. Police dispersed the crowd. One person was reportedly detained.

It was the highest-profile trial of accused Islamic extremists in Uzbekistan since the May jailing of 23 men in the eastern city of Andijon.

The Andijon trial sparked large protests and a jailbreak. A government crackdown followed. Uzbek officials say 176 people, mostly terrorists, died. Rights advocates and witnesses say 500 or more were killed.


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