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Two Chechens Jailed For Recruiting Suicide Bombers

MOSCOW -- A Chechen man and his sister have been imprisoned after being found guilty in a Moscow court of recruiting would-be suicide bombers to carry out a terrorist attack in the Russian capital in 2009, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Lawyer Musa Khadisov told RFE/RL that his clients, Apti Magomadov and Aishat Magomadova, were sentenced on December 26 to six and two years in prison, respectively.

He said the trial took place behind closed doors to ensure, the judge said, that classified information related to the investigation did not become public.

Khadisov said no proof of the guilt that the siblings were involved in terrorist activity was presented at the trial. He said they were innocent of the charges and that he was considering filing an appeal.

The daily newspaper "Kommersant" reported that Magomadov became involved in recruiting women to carry out suicide attacks after he joined an Islamic militant group led by Chechen insurgency leader Doku Umarov in 2009.

A case was opened against the Chechens after the testimony of Lithuanian Egle Kusaite, a Muslim convert who was arrested earlier this year on charges of agreeing with the two Chechens to become a suicide bomber.

Kusaite later retracted her testimony, saying it was given under pressure, and was released. The prosecutor initially called for a more severe punishment of nine years in a labor camp for Magomadov and six years for his sister.

Khadisov told RFE/RL there was no evidence that Kusaite discussed anything with either of the Magomadovs. He said there were no text messages or e-mails showing that they communicated about the issue of suicide bombings.

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