Swedish terror trial of 6 Central Asians begins


STOCKHOLM -- Six Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals living in Sweden went on trial in Stockholm Monday (January 7) accused of financing terrorism, three of them also charged with planning a terror attack.

"If the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt Sweden," the prosecution said in its charge sheet.

The first day of the trial focused on the prosecution's claim that the six men sent funds to "Islamic State" (IS) to finance its terrorism operations.

The prosecution argued that one of the men, 34-year-old Akromion Ergashev of Uzbekistan, sent almost 18,000 SEK (€1,750 or $2,000) to a middleman in Turkey, who in turn sent it to two IS supporters in Syria.

The prosecution presented chats on encrypted mobile phone apps and account statements as evidence.

The other five suspects were identified in court documents as Uzbek nationals Bakhtior Umarov, 30, Gulom Tadjiyev, 39, Shoahmad Mahmudov, 24, and David Idrisson, 46, and 39-year-old Kyrgyz national Atabek Abdullayev.

Abdullayev, Idrisson and Umarov are accused of planning a terror attack in Sweden.

The prosecution says they acquired large amounts of chemicals for making explosives, as well as gas masks, walkie-talkies and other military materials.

Photographs of crowded locations in Stockholm were found in some of the suspects' phones, suggesting they may have been possible targets, according to the prosecution.

During a police raid in Stromsund, 600km north of Stockholm, last April, neighbours told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper they saw police removing about 15 large plastic chemical containers from a shed on an empty property.

One of the suspects is said to have been in contact with Rakhmat Akilov, a radicalised Uzbek asylum seeker who mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck in April 2017, killing five people.

Akilov was sentenced to life in prison last June.

All six deny all the charges.

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