28 Feb 2019 12:12

Five Ingushetia's residents get lengthy prison terms for plotting terror attacks in Ingushetia, Moscow

ROSTOV-ON-DON. Feb 28 (Interfax) - The North Caucasus District Military Court has passed a guilty verdict on five residents of Ingushetia on counts of plotting terror attacks in Ingushetia and Moscow, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"The defendants shall be found guilty and sent to a high-security penitentiary, where Salamkhan Sampiyev will serve 17 years, Elbert Kharsiyev - 13 years, Ruslan Esmurziyev - 17 years, Khusen Kitiyev - 12 years, and Magomed Amatkhanov - 20 years," the judge said.

Each convict will also pay a fine, which will range from 100,000 to 200,000 rubles.

The press service of the North Caucasus District Military Court said in a statement that, according to their roles, the defendants were found guilty of plotting a terror attack, organizing or participating in the activity of a terrorist cell, establishing an illegal armed unit, illegally possessing weapons and explosives, and extorting funds.

Amatkhanov pleaded guilty of fighting for an illegal armed group in Syria but denied other charges.

"Defendants Sampiyev, Esmurziyev, Kitiyev, and Kharsiyev pleaded not guilty and said they had nothing to do with the weapons, ammunition, and explosives seized by investigators during searches," the court said.

Kitiyev's lawyer Yury Bachurin said they would appeal the sentence.

"Sure, we will file an appeal; the court has made a lot of procedural mistakes," Bachurin said.

The prosecutor asked the court to find the defendants guilty of plotting terror attacks in Ingushetia and Moscow and to give them from 13 to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary.

According to the investigators, Amatkhanov and Sampiyev were responsible for plotting the crimes. Esmurziyev supervised the travel of group members around Ingushetia and their accommodation. Kitiyev provided transportation, and Kharsiyev acted as a fighter and a liaison with coordinators of the ISIL terrorist organization (banned in Russia) stationed abroad.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) detained the five suspects. They were put under arrest in November 2016.

The prosecutor said the group was organized by Zubairi Sautiyev, who returned to Ingushetia from Syria and was killed in a special operation in October 2016. The group had four more members, three of whom were killed, and one who was put on the wanted list.

According to the prosecutor, the group was plotting a terror attack near the French embassy in Moscow during celebrations of the 2017 New Year as retaliation to the counterterrorist operation of Moscow and France in Syria.