Militants seeking power in two of Russia's North Caucasian republics sentenced to 3.5-15 years in prison

On Thursday the court of Pyatigorsk, Russian city in the North Caucasian region, has passed a sentence to 16 militants for preparing armed seizure of power last year in two North Caucasian republics -- Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Circassia. They have been sentenced to terms from 3.5 to 15 years in prison.

Investigation shows they are activists of the Wahhabite movement. Its goal is to create an Islamic state in the North Caucasus. The extremists have been operating in the territory since 1996. Among the leaders of the criminal community were Shamil Basayev, Hattab and other warlords of Chechen illegal armed formations. Many young Wahhabites have undergone military and ideological preparation in camps in Chechnya. This bandit group was armed with automatic weapons, grenade-launchers, explosives and modern means of communication.