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Uzbek Terror Suspects Await Verdict in Andijan Unrest Trial

Fifteen alleged Islamic insurgents, accused of orchestrating May's bloody revolt in the eastern Uzbek city, Andijan, await their fate. The prosecutor in the controversial trial is seeking prison sentences of up to 20 years.

The suspects face multiple charges, including murder of officials and members of security forces for their alleged roles in the Andijan unrest - charges normally punishable by death, under Uzbek law.

But, in closing arguments, Uzbekistan's Prosecutor-General Anvar Nabiyev asked only for prison terms up to 20 years, each. This has prompted western rights groups and analysts to allege that some sort of deal was struck to drop the death penalty, in exchange for securing all the defendants claims of guilt at the start of the trial.

Separately, Uzbek political activists accuse authorities of drugging a jailed opposition leader, Sanjar Umarov, who heads one of the only groups to have criticized the authoritarian government of Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Mr. Umarov's lawyer says his client was found naked and incoherent, during a recent prison visit.