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Uzbek Prosecutors Demand Up to 20-Year Sentences in Uprising Trial

Prosecutors in the trial of 15 men accused of organizing a May anti-government rally in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan have called for prison sentences of 15 to 20 years for the defendants.

In his closing arguments, Prosecutor Anvar Nabiyev asked the Supreme Court in Tashkent to sentence five of the accused to 20 years in prison, and the rest to terms ranging from 15 to 19 years.

When the trial opened in September, the defendants all pleaded guilty to charges, which include having links to Islamic extremists and an attempted coup. But human rights groups say there is evidence that police forced the confessions.

Human rights workers say Uzbek security forces fired on demonstrators and killed as many as 750 people in May. Uzbek officials deny the claims and say 187 people, including security personnel, died in the revolt.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.