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Uzbek prosecutors seek extended jail terms for accused Andijan rebels

[JURIST] Uzbek prosecutors in the trial of 15 men accused of plotting a rebellion in Andijan on Wednesday sought prison sentences of between nine and 20 years for the suspects. Prosecutors urged the court to issue a 20-year sentence for five men, an 18-year sentence for three, and 17 years in jail for four, as well as 15-, 16- and nine-year sentences for three others. All of the 15 men pleaded guilty to various charges of terrorism, murder and attempted coup d'etat last month, but human rights groups and the UN have questioned the fairness of the trial [JURIST report] and the validity of the confessions from the 15 [JURIST report]. Observers said the rebellion alleged by Uzbek government officials actually entailed government troops firing on and killing as many as 500 protesters in Andijan, but Uzbekistan [official website; JURIST news archive] has resisted calls for an independent investigation into the event and denied charges of using torture [JURIST report] to extract the confessions. All 15 of those arrested have testified that they trained in Kyrgyzstan and received foreign support for a plan to overthrow the Uzbek government. The government has since cracked down on foreign media in the country, leading the BBC to close its office in the country [Reuters report] on Wednesday. Reuters has more.

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