Sentence to be passed on a key figure of Chechen separatism

On Monday at the court of Pyatigorsk (the Stavropol Territory, the Southern federal district) a sentence is expected to be delivered on former chief of staff of the Chechen separatists Said-Magomed Chupalayev nicknamed Titanic.

As officials of the Stavropol Territorial court said, 45-year-old Chupalayev, an accomplice of Aslan Maskhadov - the leader of the separatists who calls himself "president of independent Ichkeria", and of Shamil Basayev who ranks second in the hierarchy of the Chechen separatists, was detained last spring in Ingushetia (A Russian Autonomy neighbouring on Chechnya) in a camp for forced migrants. Letters of the militants' leaders to the Chechens with calls for returning "to active struggle against the federal forces" were confiscated from him during the detention.

During the first Chechen war Titanic, born at Alkhazurovo village in the Urus-Martan district of the republic, held a responsible post in the militants' staff and commanded a sabotage-reconnaissance battalion. In January 1995 he received an arm wound, went to Turkey via Azerbaijan, and underwent a course of medical treatment at an Istanbul hospital.

In August 1996 Chupalayev held the post of the chief of staff of the militants and commanded the Jihad operation in the course of which Grozny was captured.

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