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Tbilisi Court Sends Five Men Charged With Terrorism To Pretrial Detention

The Tbilisi court hearing was held behind closed doors. (file photo)

TBILISI -- A court in Georgia has sent to pretrial detention five people from the South Caucasus nation's northeastern Pankisi Gorge region who are being held on terrorism charges.

At a hearing behind closed doors on August 26, the Tbilisi City Court ruled that Magomed Machalikashvili, Yusuf Tsatiashvili, Gamza Bagakashvili, Ramaz Kavtarashvili, and Ramaz Margoshvili must remain in pretrial detention for at least two months.

The five men, all ethnic Chechens, were detained two days earlier and charged with being involved in the activities of the Islamic State terrorist organization.

All of the men have rejected the charges.

Before the hearing, Georgia's State Security Service published videos showing the suspects taking an oath to an unidentified "Amir of Georgia" and Islamic State. Audio also was published, which the State Security Service claims reveals the suspects discussing plans to conduct a terrorist act in the country.

Georgia's Pankisi Gorge region borders Russia's volatile region of Chechnya and is home to Muslims with ethnic ties to Chechens.