A Swedish appeals court has sentenced an Uzbek man to life in prison for the 2012 attempted murder of an imam who was critical of the regime in Uzbekistan.

A lower court had previously sentenced 37-year-old Yuri Yukovsky to 18 years in prison for shooting the imam, who sustained brain injuries. But the Court of Appeal for Southern Norrland said Tuesday that the imam, known as Nazarov, suffers from "such serious injuries that the crime deserves an equally heavy sentence" as that for murder.

The court found that Yukovsky had come to Sweden on behalf of someone abroad for the purpose of shooting Nazarov, which he did on Feb. 22, 2012.

The court ruled Yukovsky be expelled after serving his life sentence, usually a minimum of 12 years in Sweden.