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Austrian Court Sentences Chechen Man On Terrorism Charges

A court in Vienna has sentenced a 32-year old man from Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya to 10 years in prison for fighting along with militants of the now-defunct group Caucasus Emirate (Imarat Kavkaz) against Russian federal troops.

The Vienna Criminal Court on July 23 found the man, identified as Adam S., guilty of being a member of a terrorist group between 2008 and 2013 and taking part in preparing an attack against Russian troops.

Adam S. testified that he had joined forces fighting against Russia after he witnessed "atrocities" committed by Russian federal troops in Chechnya, whom the man called "the occupiers."

While fighting in 2013, the man lost fingers on his left hand and his eyesight was severely damaged. He has been residing in Austria since 2017.

Russia accuses him of involvement in an attack in 2014 that killed four Russian soldiers.

Since criminal proceedings against Adam S. were initiated when he was already in Austria, the country's judiciary handled the case.

After two wars in Chechnya between separatists and Russia's federal troops in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, the separatist forces turned into an Islamic militancy that spilled over into Russia's other North Caucasus republics -- such as Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, and Ingushetia, which in 2007 Imarat Kavkaz leaders proclaimed as its subjects.

Imarat Kavkaz has been labeled as a terrorist organization by Russia, the United States, the United Nations, Britain, Canada, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Since 2017, there have been no officially reported operations by the group on Russian territory, while some reports say that small groups fighting in Syria along with Islamic State militants associated themselves with the Imarat Kavkaz.

Based on reporting by Die Presse and Austria Presse Agentur