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Russia Jails Man for 22 Years Over Sapsan Train Bombing Plot

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

A court in Russia has sentenced a Tajik man to 22 years in maximum-security prison for orchestrating an attempted bombing of a high-speed train between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Interfax reported Friday.

The court found that Emom Burkhonov had played a role in derailing a Sapsan train in 2017 by placing a metal device on the tracks to cause the train to crash into oncoming traffic. The train did not crash but five Sapsan carriages were reportedly damaged, resulting in estimated losses of 55 million rubles ($880,000).

The suspect, Emom Burkhonov, admitted his guilt in court.

“I had just seen YouTube videos of women and children being killed and I wanted to put an end to it, but I was wrong,” Interfax quoted Burkhonov as saying. 

The court found Burkhonov guilty of organizing a terrorist group, attempting to carry out an explosion and illegal arms possession in an organized group. 

Russia had earlier sentenced seven suspected Islamic State supporters to between 17 years and 21 years in jail over the plot to derail the train.

The suspects were reportedly detained in mid-2017 while attempting to carry out a new plan to bomb the railway. 

The seven convicted jihadists hailing from Tajikistan had carried out the plot to send a message for Russia to stop its military campaign in Syria, according to a July indictment.

Only one of the seven suspects pleaded guilty to all charges. A second suspect admitted to weapons possession, while the other five suspects denied their guilt.

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