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Notorious North Caucasus Militant Gets Life Sentence

ROSTOV-ON-DON — A military court has sentenced North Caucasus militant Ali Taziyev, also known by his alias Magas, to life imprisonment on terrorism charges.

Taziyev, a former police officer, allegedly switched sides and joined North Caucasus militants to become one of the top leaders of the Caucasus Emirate militant group and second in command in that organization after terrorist leader Doku Umarov.

The court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on Tuesday found Taziyev guilty of direct involvement in a number of high-profile terrorist attacks that killed at least 26 people and left another 344 injured.

The attacks he was convicted of include an attempt to assassinate the leader of Russia's republic of Ingushetia in June 2009.

The trial, which featured evidence from more than 600 victims and over 400 eyewitnesses, began in May amid tough security measures.

Taziyev pleaded not guilty to almost all the charges against him, except setting up an illegal armed group and illegal possession of arms.

Prosecutors said that Taziyev joined North Caucasus militants on his own initiative in 1999 after being kidnapped by Chechen gunmen in fall 1998. Prior to that, he was a sergeant employed at the Ingush police's extra-departmental protection department, providing private security services on a contractual basis. He was arrested in Ingushetia in 2010.

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