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Uzbekistan: Defendants Give Testimony At Tashkent Bombing Trial

Tashkent, 7 June 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Two defendants in the Tashkent bombing trial gave testimony on Friday before the country's Supreme Court. The pair admitted their role in the February terrorist act which left 15 people dead and more than 100 injured.

Zokir Hasanov said he was part of an Islamic group and had received special training at a camp in Chechnya. Hasanov said he and another man, Hamad Rahmonov, had placed explosives in a car the morning of February 16 and parked the car outside Uzbekistan's National Security Service building.

Hasanov said the car blew up five minutes later.

The other defendant who gave testimony on Friday (June 4), Zainiddin Askarov, said he had met in Kabul with Takhir Yuldash, who has been named by Uzbek authorities as one of the organizers of the bombing.

According to Askarov, Yuldash told him to find Mohammed Solih, the leader of Uzbekistan's banned Erk Party, and bring him to Kabul, which Askarov said he did. Solih is also named by Uzbek authorities as an organizer of the bombing.

Askarov said Yuldash offered to make Solih president of Uzbekistan in return for Solih's help.

The Tashkent bombing trial began Wednesday and is expected to run into next week. Twenty-two men are on trial on charges ranging from illegal possession of weapons and banned literature to attempting to overthrow the constitutional government of the state and attempting to assassinate President Islam Karimov.