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Former Uzbek Defense Official Sentenced As U.S. Spy

(RFE/RL) June 15, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Reports from Uzbekistan say a former Defense Ministry official has been convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term for transferring military secrets to the Pentagon.

The website this week reported that Erkin Musaev, the former head of the Defense Ministry's foreign-trade department, was reportedly sentenced to 15 years in prison on June 13 on charges of sharing classified information pertaining to the Uzbek and Russian armed forces with Pentagon officials.

The website said reporters from Uzbekistan's two official newspapers were allowed to attend the trial as an exception. Normally, such trials are behind closed doors.

In comments to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today, a deputy editor of the official "Xalq Sozi" (People's Word) newspaper confirmed that Musaev had been tried. He gave no further details.

UzMetronom reported that it took the presiding judge four hours to read the 72-page verdict.

Uzbekistan, once a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, evicted U.S. troops from its soil last year.

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