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40 Said Sentenced Over Deadly Turkmenistan Blasts

One of the early images, sent by a citizen journalist, of the July 7 explosions in Abadan
A website run by Turkmenistan's opposition-in-exile reported that 40 people have been convicted in connection with explosions at an ammunition depot in the town of Abadan on July 7 that killed at least 15 people.

The "Khronika Turkmenistana" website reported that seven of those on trial were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in jail and the remaining defendants received 10-year sentences.

Turkmenistan's government has called the incident an accident and said that 15 people died.

Turkmen rights defenders have claimed up to 1,300 people were killed in the explosions.

The site did not report the specific charges against the defendants but they appear to have been severe since 25 years imprisonment is the maximum penalty, expect in rare cases, permissible under Turkmenistan's laws.

The government initially tried to cover up reports of the blasts and described them as the result of a fireworks factory catching fire, but video and other images from residents of the massive damage suggested otherwise.

compiled from local reports