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Forty-one people sentenced in Andijan trial

TASHKENT, December 21 (RIA Novosti, Abu-Ali Niyazmatov) - Forty-one people suspected of organizing the May uprising in Andijan, a city in the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan, were sentenced to 12-20 years in prison Wednesday, the Uzbek Supreme Court said.

"On December 21, the Tashkent regional and city courts reviewed criminal cases against 41 defendants suspected of organizing terrorist acts and committing serious offenses on May 12-13, 2005 in Andijan," the court said.

According to the verdict, the defendants were found guilty of various crimes, including premeditated aggravated murder and terrorism.

Uzbek authorities claim that the Andijan uprising on May 12-13 was masterminded by Islamic extremist groups linked to international terrorist organizations. According to official data, 187 people died in the ensuing violence, including 60 civilians and 31 policemen. However, human rights groups say about 700 civilians died as a result of the violent crackdown by the security forces and police.

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