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Suspect Arrested for Uzbek Émigré Attack

By News Briefing Central Asia

The Russian authorities have arrested a man suspected of the attempted killing of a prominent Muslim cleric from Uzbekistan. 

Yury Zhukovsky, 34, was picked up when Russia’s FSB intelligence service tracked down a mobile phone identified by Swedish police as the same one used to coordinate the attack on Obidkhon Qori Nazarov in February.

Nazarov, 54, was shot near his home in the Swedish town of Stromsund, in an attack that observers linked to the authorities in Uzbekistan, where the cleric had been a focal point for Muslims opposed to state control of mosques. He and his family fled the country in 1998, and have lived as refugees in Sweden since 2006. (See Uzbek Islamic Leader Targeted by Hitman.)

The Swedish authorities are now pursuing extradition procedures so that they can question Zhukovsky, who they believe holds Uzbekistan as well as Russian citizenship.

In May, a married couple from Uzbekistan were arrested on suspicion of helping coordinate the attack, but a Swedish court ruled in July that there was insufficient evidence for a conviction. Prosecutors are appealing against that decision.

This article was produced as part of News Briefing Central Asia output, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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