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Scores Convicted Over Deadly Tajik Car Bombing

Policemen and firefighters work at the scene of the suicide bombing in Khujand on September 3, 2010.
A regional court in Tajikistan has convicted 53 people for involvement in a deadly 2010 car bombing, declaring 43 of the defendants members of the outlawed Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The Soghd Regional Court in northern Tajikistan said in a statement that five of those convicted will spend the rest of their lives in prison, while the 48 others received jail sentences of eight to 30 years.

The convictions stem from a September 2010 suicide bombing in which the driver rammed a car packed with explosives into the main gate of the headquarters of the organized-crimefighting unit of the police directorate in the northern city of Khujand, Tajikistan's second-largest city.

Two policemen and two civilians died in the attack, and 28 people more were injured.

The IMU seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia, and some of its senior leadership is thought to have cooperated closely with Al-Qaeda in the past.

Investigators said many of the defendants hailed from the same city, Istravshan.

They claimed the bomber, Akmal Karimov, was from Istravshan but had fled a 2009 kidnapping charge and spent time at terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

A lawyer previously told RFE/RL that one of the defendants was under 18 years of age.

Some reports have suggested the use of torture to extract confessions in the case, a claim rights activists have echoed.

The trial's proceedings were not public.

compiled from local, Reuters, and RFE/RL reports