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Russians arrest imam shooting suspect

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16:45 CEST+02:00
Russian security services have arrested a 35-year-old man suspected of the attempted murder of an imam in northern Sweden in February, according to a report in the Kvällsposten daily.

The newspaper reported that preparations are currently underway to have the man extradited to Sweden.

Uzbek imam Obydkhon Sobitkhony Nazarov was shot in the head outside his Strömsund home in northern Sweden on February 22nd.

The 35-year-old man is known to have left the country shortly after what police consider to be an assassination attempt and has since been subject to an international arrest warrant.

According to the newspaper, the man was arrested by the Russian security service after their Swedish counterparts Säpo noted that he had used the same mobile phone in Russia that he had in Sweden.

An Uzbek couple accused of complicity in the high-profile assassination attempt were acquitted by a district court in July. The court judgement has since been appealed.

A well-known religious leader and political dissident Nazarov, who fled his central Asian homeland and came to Sweden 2006, is not viewed positively by the Uzbek regime, which is known to see deeply religious regime critics as terrorists.

Nazarov came to Sweden along with scores of other political refugees after a 2005 crackdown by Uzbek government troops in Andijan in which hundreds of protesters were killed, although the exact number of casualties remains in dispute.

Today he is internationally wanted by Uzbekistan. After the assassination attempt Nazarov received life-threatening injuries. His has still not regained consciousness.

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