UFA, Russia -- A court in the capital of Russia's Bashkortostan Republic, Ufa, has sentenced a Bashkir nationalist leader to 4 1/2 years in jail.
Fanzil Akhmetshin, a leader of the World Bashkir Assembly (Kurultai), a Bashkir cultural organization, was found guilty of drug trafficking.
Akhmetshin was arrested in November 2011 after police said they found opium in his suitcase upon his return from a visit to Somalia.
He has pleaded not guilty.
Akhmetshin's lawyer said his client planned to appeal the court's decision.
Hundreds of Akhmetshin's supporters have staged numerous protests since his arrest.