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Suspect in Moscow McDonald's explosion admits partial guilt

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MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - A man suspected of involvement in a 2002 bombing attack on a Moscow McDonald's partially admitted his guilt at a court hearing Tuesday.

Aslanbek Khaskhanov, who has been in a psychiatric ward since the explosion, said at a Moscow City Court hearing: "Yes, I committed a crime, but I do not agree with the charge. I'll explain later." He also asked to be excused from giving evidence, saying he had a headache.

A car outside a McDonald's restaurant on Pokryshkina street in southwest Moscow exploded on October 19, 2002, killing one person and wounding eight. Damages to the building totaled 3.32 million rubles ($112,800).

Investigators linked the explosion to a terrorist attack on the Dubrovka theater in Moscow in the same month in which more than 900 people were taken hostage. However, the criminal proceedings were carried out separately.

In April 2004, the Moscow City Court found four defendants guilty of the McDonalds bombing, and sentenced them to 15-20 years in prison.

Khaskhanov was sent, on the court's decision, for compulsory treatment in the Smolensk Region. Experts concluded that he had undergone a temporary psychological breakdown, which does not free him from criminal liability.

On Tuesday, the defendant asked the court to order another psychiatric analysis, but his request was rejected, as a committee of doctors had already declared him sane.

The court has recessed until June 21. Victims are expected to be questioned at the next hearings.

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