Uzbek assassination plot rocks quiet Swedish town
A court in Sweden has cleared a man and woman from Uzbekistan of aiding an assassination plot reminiscent of Cold War undercover operations. The court in the northern Swedish town of Ostersund said there was insufficient evidence to link the pair with the attempted murder of dissident Uzbek Muslim cleric Obid-kori Nazarov, a well-known critic of the authorities in his homeland.
Mr Nazarov was shot in the head in February and is still in a coma.
The attack sent shockwaves through Stromsund, a small town of just a few thousand inhabitants in the sparsely populated north of Sweden.
A 600km (375-mile) drive from Stockholm, it is known for its wildlife and nature tourism. Until recently, suspicions of political murder were something unheard of here.
But now all that has changed.
Stromsund is also home to hundreds of Uzbek asylum seekers who have fled the repressive government in their home country, thousands of miles away.
Just about all of them are devout Muslims who fell foul of the authorities for practising their religion outside the control of a deeply suspicious state.
Human rights organisations accuse Uzbekistan of imprisoning thousands of Muslims who have been depicted as extremists seeking to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic state.
Mr Nazarov, 54, had a reputation for his independent thinking and strongly-held points of view. As such he was a prime target of the Uzbek security services - ever since he arrived in Sweden in 2006 he feared that their long arm might find him. (...)