The court of the Stavropol region found five citizens of the Karachi-Cherkessia republic guilty of the organization of acts of terrorism, participation in illegal bandit groups, and the production of explosives. Brothers Aslan and Murat Bastanov, as well as Muratbi Tuganbayev, were sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. Taikan Frantsuzov was sentenced to 13.5 years; Muratbi Bairamukov was sentenced to to nine years of imprisonment.
These people were found guilty of leaving for Chechnya, where they were trained in a terrorist camp commanded by the well-known Chechen commander Khattab. Then, as the investigation says, they returned to Karachi-Cherkessia and were included in an armed group of militants.
They were originally charged of the bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow and in Volgodonsk in the fall of 1998. These charges were later withdrawn, as there was a lack of evidence. The investigation also has information that the accused people carried out a series of acts of terrorism after the presidential elections in Russia in the spring of the last year. There were explosive substances and weapons found in their apartments.
The court proceedings were of closed character; they took place in a Stavropol suburb. As one of the lawyers of the convicted claimed, the defense would appeal to the Russian Federation Supreme Court.
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