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Sweden sheltering terrorist cleric: Uzbek TV

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09:00 CEST+02:00
A cleric based in Sweden has been accused by Uzbek state television of instigating a suicide attack on the US embassy in 2004, as well as directing a series of high-profile killings last year.

A documentary that aired on Thursday night said Obidkhon Nazarov, a once-popular preacher in Uzbekistan who fled to neighbouring Kazakhstan in the late 1990s, had flown to Sweden with the help of "foreign secret services" in 2005.

"Although Nazarov was wanted by Uzbek law enforcement, including Interpol, he could freely fly away from Almaty airport with the help of invisible hands... and found safe shelter in Sweden," the documentary said.

From Sweden "he is still trying to set up his jihad group" that has planned terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan, it said.

Nazarov was granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2006 and in recent years has been living openly in Sweden, where he has criticised the Uzbek authorities.

The former imam of Tokhtoboy mosque in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, Nazarov has previously denied links to extremists in Uzbekistan, a majority-Muslim former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

In the attacks last June, a deputy director of a religious school and a number of senior anti-terror officials were killed.

More than 90 people were arrested afterwards and most were jailed following closed trials, according to human rights groups.

The documentary showed several defendants testifying against Nazarov, and it said the murders were Nazarov's latest attempt to destabilise Uzbekistan after his previous attempt in 2004.

That year dozens of people were killed in a series of attacks and suicide bombers struck the US and Israeli embassies.

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