Supporters of comatose Uzbek imam Nazarov gather in Sweden

Obid-kori Nazarov was one of the most influential imams in Uzbekistan.
On 22 February, one year after the attempt on Obid-kori Nazarov’s life, his followers will hold a rally in Stockholm demanding punishment for the perpetrators of the crime.

Supporters of Imam Obid-kori Nazarov will hold a picket outside the Swedish parliament, Riksdag, in Stockholm on 22 February from 1.30pm – 3pm.

People gathering at the action intend to demand that the Swedish authorities mobilise forces both within the country and within the European Union to solve the crime against Nazarov.

The well-known Uzbek imam, who has lived in exile in Sweden since 2006, was critically injured with a gun shot wound to his head when he came out of his home in Stromsund on 22 February 2012.

The intervention of timely medical aid by highly qualified doctors saved his life, but despite their best efforts, he has remained in a coma and his condition is said to be hopeless.

In addition to a picket, the imam’s supporters are collecting an online petition to hand over to authorities in Sweden and Russia.

Last autumn Russian and Swedish media reports said that a key suspect in the murder attempt, contract killer Yuriy Zhukovskiy, had been arrested in Russia.

But since then there has been no further media reports about this man and no official in Russia, or in Sweden, has mentioned his name.

Those who have signed the petition have requested that Russian authorities extradite Zhukovskiy to Sweden to face trial.

The extradition of Zhukovskiy, the authors of the petition believe, would be a “historic gesture” by Russia and an attempt to improve relations with a future Uzbekistan, as the current ruling regime of Islam Karimov does not have future.

The Uzbek authorities have regarded Imam Obid-kori Nazarov as a dangerous generator of radical Islamic ideas since the mid 1990s.

Islam Karimov’s regime feared the imam’s popularity and since 1998 his community has been persecuted with hundreds of people arrested and sentenced for their relations with the imam.

Nazarov’s name has been voiced in every court verdict issued since then against hundreds and thousands of “religious extremists” and “terrorists” all over the country.

Until 2006, Imam Nazarov had hid in Kazakhstan from where he fled to Sweden with the UN and US assistance.