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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 22:12 GMT
Chechen 'suicide bomber' jailed
By Damian Grammaticas
BBC News, Moscow

Zara Murtazaliyeva. Picture: TV channel Russia
Murtazaliyeva denied all the charges
A court in Russia has sentenced a Chechen woman to nine years in prison after finding her guilty of planning a series of terrorist acts in Moscow.

Zara Murtazaliyeva's lawyers insisted the evidence against her was fabricated and said they would appeal.

Prosecutors said she was a trained suicide bomber who planned attacks and tried to recruit accomplices.

Human rights groups say she was framed by a police force eager to show it is winning the fight against terrorists.

Murtazaliyeva, 21, was arrested in March last year after she was stopped on a Moscow street.

Police say she was carrying 200g of plastic explosive and was preparing an attack on a shopping centre close to the Kremlin.

Sentencing her to nine years in prison, a court in Moscow said it was satisfied of her guilt.

Appeal

But Murtazaliyeva insisted she did not know where the explosives came from.

Her lawyer said the evidence against her was fabricated by the police, and there was no proof she tried to recruit other suicide bombers, only conversations with two Muslim women she met in which it is claimed she criticised Russia's government and sympathised with Chechen groups.

An appeal is planned.

In the past two years, several hundred Russians have died in a wave of bombings by Chechen groups of trains, aeroplanes, and public places, along with hostage-takings in Moscow and in the town of Beslan.

Russia's law enforcement bodies have been under pressure to prevent more such attacks.

Murtazaliyeva's supporters say she is a victim of corrupt law enforcement agencies looking for any success in their campaign against the Chechen separatists.




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