Apartment houses-blasts defendants sentenced to life imprisonment

MOSCOW - Adam Dekkushev and Yusuf Crymshamhalov, two defendants in the criminal case into apartment blasts that killed about 240 people and aimed hundred others in Moscow and Volgodonsk in southern Russia in 1999, have been sentenced to life term each in a special-regime colony.

They will also have to pay compensations for material and moral damages suffered by their victims during the blasts. According to investigation results both were members of Achemez Gochiyaev’s gang, which was responsible for the blast, according to the court order.

Dekkushev, 42 and Crymshamhalov, 37 had also faced other capital charges, including terrorism, torturous killing, participation in illegal armed gang, explosive production, its transportation and storage as well as illegal border-crossing. Both convicts were arrested by joint efforts of the Russian and Georgian special forces. Dekkushev was extradited to Russia on April 14, 2002, while Crymshamhalov on Dec. 7, following a special military operation in the Pankisi Gorge.

Investigators have named Arab mercenaries Hattab and Abu Umar, reportedly killed later in Chechnya with three other suspects, as the main organizers of the blasts. Two more suspects, including Gochiyaev, are now under international search warrant.

The court hearing, which started last October, was closed to public. Both defendants have pleaded guilty only to some of the charges. For instance, Dekkushev acknowledged that he knew the explosives he transported were to be used for an act of terror, but noted that he was not aware that ordinary citizens would suffer.