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Sweden Jails Man For Shooting Uzbek Imam

  • RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

Obidkhon Qori Nazarov was one of the most popular imams in Central Asia in the early 1990s.

A Swedish court has sentenced an Uzbek citizen to 18 years in prison for an assassination attempt on an imam.

A court in the Swedish city of Ostersund found Yury Zhukovsky, 37, guilty of carrying out an attack on prominent Uzbek Imam Obidkhon Qori Nazarov in 2012.

Nazarov, who is a critic of the government of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, was in a coma after being shot at least three times in the northern Swedish town of Stromsund.

His relatives say Nazarov suffers from brain damage.

The court did not say who ordered the shooting of Nazarov but said "technical evidence" showed Zhukovsky had "acted on behalf of someone in Russia."

Swedish prosecutor Krister Peterrson had earlier told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that there is evidence that the attempt on Nazarov's life was ordered by the Uzbek government.

It sought a life sentence for Zhukovsky.

Obid Nazarov's son, Doudkhon Nazarov, told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that he is satisfied with the court decision.

Zhukovsky was extradited to Sweden from Russia on August 25 to stand trial in the case.

Nazarov, who was one of the most popular imams in Central Asia in the early 1990s, was granted asylum in Sweden in 2006.

He had fled Uzbekistan in 1998.

With reporting by AP