Supreme Court upholds 22-yr sentence in 2002 McDonald's bombing

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MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a 22-year sentence handed down to a man in his early thirties for organizing a fatal bombing of a Moscow McDonald's in 2002.

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

On July 26 the Moscow City Court sentenced Aslanbek Khaskhanov, born in 1974, to 22 years in prison on charges of organizing the terrorist attack on the McDonald's. He was also convicted of assisting a major hostage-taking at a Moscow theater in October 2002, which officially claimed 129 lives, and of storing, making and transporting explosives, committing murder and attempted murder.

The Supreme Court rejected a plea in mitigation from Khaskhanov's defense lawyers, who said their defendant's sentence should be cut as he had cooperated with investigators, including in the theater hostage-taking case.

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

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