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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jury Acquits 1999 Blast Suspect in Repeat Trial

A jury in Dagestan, ruling in a repeat trial, acquitted a man charged with staging a 1999 apartment blast that killed 64 people and helped trigger Moscow's renewed military campaign in Chechnya, a court spokesman said Saturday.

Magomed Salikhov was acquitted in January by a jury in Dagestan of charges of organizing the Sept. 4, 1999, explosion that destroyed a building that had housed military officers and their families in the Caspian Sea town of Buinaksk.

The jury found Salikhov guilty of illegal border crossing, documents forgery and participation in illegal armed groups, and ordered him to serve 52 months in prison.

The Supreme Court in June overturned his acquittal on bombing charges and ordered a retrial. But the jury at Salikhov's repeat trial in Dagestan's highest court again acquitted him of the bombing charges Friday.

The Buinaksk bombing was the first of four apartment-building blasts that month. The Kremlin blamed Chechnya-based militants for the attacks, which killed about 300 people, and sent troops back into Chechnya soon after, starting the second of two wars in the region in a decade. While Moscow has long said the war is over, there has never been a treaty declaring an end to hostilities.