st petersburg suspects

Lawyers of the convicted defendants said they would appeal the verdicts.
A military court in St. Petersburg has sentenced a man to life in prison for financing a deadly 2017 subway blast, while 10 other defendants in the case received prison terms of between 19 and 28 years.

The court in Russia's second-largest city sentenced Abror Azimov to life in prison on December 10 after finding him guilty of financing the attack, which killed 15 people and injured 67 others.

The only woman among the defendants, Shokhista Karimova, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, broke down after the Judge Andrei Morozov announced her punishment.

Lawyers of the convicted defendants said they would appeal the verdicts.

All had denied the charges, and some of them claimed they were tortured while in detention, including Kyrgyz-born Abror Azimov and his brother, Akram, who was also among those convicted in the case.

Investigators have said 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.

A second explosive was left at a station platform, but it was found and safely defused.

The 11 defendants -- all natives of Central Asian former Soviet republics -- pleaded not guilty to charges of being members of a terrorist group, supporting terrorist activity, and the illegal production and sale of explosive devices.The authorities said they were arrested in different Russian cities and held in Moscow before being transferred to St. Petersburg for the trial.

Russian news agencies broadcast footage provided by authorities showing what they described as the arrest of Akram Azimov in Moscow in April 2017.

But Akram's mother told RFE/RL two days after the April 19 announcement that he had been taken away by Kyrgyz security officers on April 15 from a hospital in the city of Osh, where he was being treated after surgery.

A staff member at the Osh hospital confirmed to RFE/RL that Akram had undergone sinus surgery at the facility and that several men wearing civilian clothing had taken him away after handcuffing him on April 15.

Akram's lawyers alleged that he was taken directly from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to the purported "secret" facility and tortured for several days prior to the official announcement of his arrest.