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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Russian agents lose murder appeal
Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev
Yanderbiyev had spent the last three years in exile in Qatar
Two Russian agents jailed for murdering a former Chechen leader in Qatar have lost their appeal.

A Qatari court upheld life sentences imposed on the two men found guilty of killing Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev in a bomb attack in February.

The trial judge said the men had been acting on orders from the Russian leadership. Russian officials deny the two men were involved in the killing.

Mr Yanderbiyev, a former Chechen rebel president, lived in exile in Doha.

The appeal court in the capital, Doha, upheld the original verdict and sentence.

"The court rejects the appeal in contents and the earlier verdict is upheld. This decision is final," said presiding judge Abdallah al-Saadi said.

Mr Yanderbiyev was killed by a device which had been placed under his car and exploded as he left a Doha mosque after prayers. His son was injured in the attack.

Russia insists the two agents jailed for the killing were in Qatar to gather anti-terrorism intelligence.

International tension

The affair has caused tension in the relationship between Qatar and Russia.

Mr Yanderbiyev was vice-president of Chechnya for most of the first war with Russian forces from 1994 to 1996.

He took over the presidency when the leader of the Chechen independence movement, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was killed by a Russian missile in April 1996.

It is believed that Mr Yanderbiyev and his family went to Qatar in January 2000.

Russia tried to have Mr Yanderbiyev extradited, but the Qatari authorities said they believed he would not face a fair trial.


SEE ALSO:
Russia 'behind Chechen murder'
30 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Qataris 'seek death' for Russians
08 Jun 04  |  Middle East
Russians charged with Qatar bomb
26 Feb 04  |  Europe
Obituary: Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev
13 Feb 04  |  Europe


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