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Russia: Chechen Rebel Charged With Terrorism

Moscow, 14 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Russian Prosecutor General's office says Chechen rebel leader Salman Raduyev, captured by Russian security forces on Sunday, was formally charged last night with terrorism. The charge carries a possible sentence of 50 years. Federal Security Service spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovich said Raduyev may "have information" on apartment house blasts in Russia that killed nearly 300 people last autumn. Russia had blamed Chechen terrorists for the explosions.

Zdanovich said yesterday that Raduyev organized a training school for terrorists in Chechnya.

Raduyev was captured in the town of Novogroznensky. He is the first top Chechen commander to be caught by Russian forces in their current campaign in Chechnya.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo denied earlier reports that a group of Chechen fighters had managed to break out of the southern village of Komsomolskoye, where fierce fighting has been going on for a week.