RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
The prosecutor in the trial of 11 Central Asians accused of being involved in a deadly 2017 subway blast in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has asked for a 20-year prison sentence for Shokhista Karimova, the only woman charged in the incident.
Karimova was present in court on November 19, a day after collapsing during the trial being held at a visiting session of the Moscow District Military Court in St. Petersburg.
Investigators say that on April 3, 2017, 22-year-old suicide bomber Akbarjon Jalilov, an ethnic-Uzbek Russian citizen born in Kyrgyzstan, detonated a bomb in a subway carriage while it was between two stations, killing 15 people and injuring 67 others.
A second explosive was left at a station platform, but it was found and safely defused.
Karimova, 47, a fruit seller from Uzbekistan, was detained several weeks after the attack but has claimed that a grenade and explosives found in her home were planted by Russia's FSB security service.
All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of being members of a terrorist group, supporting terrorist activity, and the illegal production and sale of explosive devices.
On November 18, prosecutor Nadezhda Tikhonova asked Judge Andrei Morozov to sentence four of the defendants -- Abror Azimov, who authorities say masterminded the attack, Akram Azimov, Muhammadyusup Ermatov, and Ibragimjon Ermatov -- to life in prison.
Tikhonova also asked the judge to sentence six other defendants to prison terms of between 27 and 28 years.
The subway bombing was claimed by the so-called Imam Shamil Battalion, a little-known group that experts say is linked to Al-Qaeda.
Several defendants claimed at the trial that they had been tortured in custody, but their statements were ignored by the court.
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