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Lawyers for Uzbek national facing terrorism-related charges in Utah and Idaho want out of case

BOISE, Idaho — Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah have asked a judge to let them withdraw from the case but won't publicly say why.

Fazliddin Kurbanov of Boise has pleaded not guilty to charges that involve teaching people to build bombs to target public transportation.

In a motion late Monday, court-appointed attorneys Richard Rubin and Thomas Monaghan sought the immediate appointment of a substitute counsel.

"The factual basis for this request is set forth in defense counsel's affidavit, which is being filed separately, under seal," Rubin and Monaghan wrote.

The two Boise-based lawyers were appointed almost immediately after Kurbanov was arrested on May 17 at his apartment in the city.

They didn't return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment on the bid to withdraw.

Kurbanov, 30, a truck driver who came to Idaho in 2009 as a refugee from central Asia, was charged in both states after an extensive investigation.

In Idaho, he's charged with providing material support and resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice said he had a hollow hand grenade, fuse and other materials that could be used as an explosive device.

In Utah, he's charged with teaching others how to make a weapon of mass destruction. The lessons included how-to shopping trips in preparation for bombing a public transportation facility, authorities said.

Prosecutors haven't said whether the target might have been foreign or domestic, though they say the threat was contained with his arrest.

There are about 650 Uzbeks in Idaho. They began coming to two refugee settlement centers in Boise and Twin Falls in 2003. The flow of refugees escalated around 2005, when a violent clash between protesters and the Uzbek government left hundreds dead.