BISHKEK/BATKEN. A former member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Sherali Akbotoev, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the Batken district court, has sent an appeal to the Batken region court asking to overturn the previous verdict. Akbotoev joined the IMU in August 1999, when the group's militants came to the remote region of Southern Kyrgyzstan. The IMU, backed by the former Taliban regime and the 'Al-Kaeda' terrorist organization, was designated by the US Government as a terrorist group in 2000.
Akbotoev told the district court that he came to the Kyrgyz Embassy to Tehran himself voluntarily, that is why the court should change the severe verdict. The Kyrgyz authorities had announced in May 2002 that Akbotoev was detained as a result of a special operation by the law-enforcement bodies of Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with the foreign forces.