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Tatarstan's Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Terms In Terrorism Trial

Prosecutor-General Ildus Nafikov (file photo)

KAZAN, Russia -- The prosecutor-general of Russia's Tatarstan region has asked a judge at a high-profile terrorism trial to sentence the defendants in the case to prison terms ranging from 22 years to life.

Prosecutor-General Ildus Nafikov asked the judge on March 7 to sentence Rafael Zaripov and Marat Sabirov to life in prison and the other seven defendants to terms between 22 and 24 years.

The nine defendants, all residents of Tatarstan's central city of Chistopol, went on trial in October.

They are accused of being members of a radical Islamist group known as Chistopol Jamaat.

Investigators say the group was behind two attacks in July 2012 in Kazan that seriously injured Tatarstan's Grand Mufti Ildus Faizov and killed his former deputy, Valiulla Yakupov.

The defendants also are accused of seven arson attacks against Orthodox churches in Tatarstan and of launching a handmade missile at a chemical plant near Kazan in 2013.

Security forces in Tatarstan killed two leaders of Chistopol Jamaat in separate raids during 2012 and 2014.

Six other members of the group were convicted of terrorism in 2014 and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Human rights activists have expressed concerns that the defendants have been tortured while in custody.