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Three Uzbeks Sentenced For Murder Of Theater Director

Mark Vail was the director of Tashkent's Ilhom Theater before his murder.
TASHKENT -- Three men were sentenced in Tashkent on February 17 for the murder of Mark Vail, the director of Uzbekistan's prominent Ilhom Theater, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Vail was stabbed to death near his home in Tashkent on September 6, 2007.

The court gave Yokub Ghofurov a 19-year sentence, and Alisher Sattorov and Kahramon Pulatov 17-year jail terms after finding them guilty of premeditated murder.

Lawyers for Sattorov and Pulatov told journalists that they will ask the court to reduce their clients' prison terms to 13 years.

Police failed to apprehend a fourth suspect, Umid Ishokov, who is the alleged mastermind of the murder. Uzbek officials said Ishokov may be living in the United States.

Vail was the founder of the Ilhom Theater. His "Imitations of The Koran," a performance based on a poem by Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, had led some to accuse him of insulting Islam.