Terrorism trial opens in Sweden against men from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Six Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals living in Sweden have gone on trial in Stockholm after being accused of transferring funds to the extremist group Islamic State (IS), RFE/RL reported.

Three of the Central Asian men are also charged with plotting a terrorist attack in the Scandinavian country.

The first day of the trial took place at the Stockholm district court’s high-security chamber on January 7, with the defendants sitting behind a bulletproof-glass wall.

The suspects were identified in court documents as Uzbek nationals Akromion Ergashev, Bakhtior Umarov, Gulom Tadjiyev, Shoahmad Mahmudov, and David Idrisson. The Kyrgyz suspect was identified as Atabek Abdullayev.

Abdullayev, Idrisson, and Umarov are accused of acquiring chemicals and other equipment, including bayonets and radio headsets, with the intent of “killing and harming other people,” the charge sheet read.

All six suspects, aged between 24 and 46, lived legally in Sweden. They reject all the charges against them.

The trial is scheduled to run until February 11.

A radicalized Uzbek asylum seeker, Rakhmat Akilov, in April 2017 ran down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck, killing five people. He was sentenced to life in prison in June 2018.

Life sentences in Sweden are usually commuted to a fixed term, often about 16 to 18 years. The court ordered Akilov to be expelled from the country after he serves his sentence and be banned from ever returning.

Akilov has acknowledged he drove a hijacked truck down a busy pedestrian street in the center of the Swedish capital on April 7, 2017, killing three Swedes including an 11-year-old girl, a British man, and a Belgian woman. Ten other people were injured.

Akilov, a construction worker and an ethnic Tajik from Uzbekistan whose asylum application was turned down by Sweden in 2016, had sworn allegiance to IS on the eve of his assault, but no organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sergey Kwan

TCA