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Suspect In Uzbek Cleric's Shooting Extradited To Sweden

Obidkhon Qori Nazarov was shot at least three times in the Swedish town of Stromsund in February 2012.

An Uzbek suspect in the 2012 shooting of an outspoken emigrant cleric who was critical of the Uzbek regime has been extradited to Sweden.

Swedish prosecutor Krister Petersson identified the extradited suspect on August 26 as 37-year-old Yury Zhukovsky.

Petersson said the suspect had an Uzbek passport in his possession at the time that the imam, Obidkhon Qori Nazarov, was shot at least three times in the Swedish town of Stromsund in February 2012. The passport is still valid, Petersson added.

Zhukovsky was handed over on August 25 to Sweden by authorities in Russia, where he had been held since his arrest in January.

Nazarov was granted asylum in Sweden in 2006 after fleeing Uzbekistan in 1998.

He was one of the most popular imams in Central Asia in the early 1990s, making him a target of President Islam Karimov's government, which issued an arrest warrant for Nazarov for alleged extremist activities.

Nazarov's relatives told RFE/RL that he suffered from brain damage as a result of his injuries.

Swedish authorities tried a married Uzbek couple for suspected involvement in the attack, but a court in the northern town of Ostersund found them not guilty in July 2012.

The couple reportedly testified to having helped someone locate the cleric, and having visited the mosque in Stromsund where Nazarov served as imam. But they claimed at the trial that they were not aware of any plan to kill Nazarov.

The suspect in the shooting was identified in court papers as "Jukovskiy," a variant of the Latin spelling of the name Zhukovsky.

During the trial, Petersson suggested that the Uzbek secret services may have played a role in the assassination attempt.