Moscow, 14 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Supreme Court today ruled that 15 Islamic organizations, including two tied with Chechen rebel leaders, are terrorist groups. The two Chechnya-related groups are the Unified Forces of Caucasian Mujahedin of Shamil Basaev, a rebel leader, and the Congress of the Peoples of Ichkeria and Daghestan of Movladi Udugov, a publicist for the separatist cause. The list also includes Al-Qaida and the Taliban and radical parties based in Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
Sergei Yastrzhembskii, the Kremlin's chief spokesman on Chechnya, said today's court decision was vital because many European countries want to see the country where the groups are operating recognize them as terrorist before taking similar action.
The decision makes the groups' activities on Russian territory illegal, and gives the authorities a legal basis to block their finances and their members' movements.