ROSTOV-ON-DON, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian military court sentenced North Caucasus militant warlord Ali Taziyev, also known by his alias Magas, to life imprisonment on terrorism charges Tuesday.
Taziyev, a former police officer, allegedly switched sides and joined North Caucasus militants to become one of the top leaders of the Imarat Kavkaz militant group and second in command in that organization after terrorist leader Doku Umarov.
The court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don 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, according to court materials.
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 at 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 extradepartmental protection department, providing private security services on a contractual basis. He was arrested in Ingushetia in 2010.