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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kotlyakovskoye Bomber Gets 15 Years

Itar-TassAndrei Anokhin awaiting the verdict during his trial on Tuesday. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder.
The Moscow City Court on Tuesday sentenced Andrei Anokhin to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1996 bombing at the city's Kotlyakovskoye cemetery that left 14 dead and injured more than 20, Interfax reported.

The court also ordered Anokhin to pay some 1.5 million rubles (nearly $57,000) in compensation for emotional distress to those injured in the bombing and relatives of the dead.

Anokhin, an Afghan war veteran, was found guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for building and detonating the remote-controlled bomb. "He knew that the explosion would lead to the death of many people," the court's ruling said.

The court found that Anokhin and a collaborator, Mikhail Smurov, built the bomb and planted it at the cemetery on Nov. 9, 1996. They returned to the cemetery the following day to detonate it as members of the Afghan War Veterans' Fund gathered to mark the second anniversary of the death of Mikhail Likhodei, the former leader of the fund who had himself been killed in a bomb attack two years earlier.

The blast, whose force was equivalent to nearly three kilograms of TNT, created a large crater and sent bodies and body parts flying as far as 50 meters from Likhodei's grave.

Anokhin and Smurov were arrested in April 1997 and confessed to the bombing. Three years later, in January 2000, all three were acquitted by the Moscow district military court.

The judge in that trial said that Anokhin and Smurov were driven by "fear for their lives and the lives of their relatives" when they falsely confessed to the 1996 bombing.

Anokhin and Smurov told police that a third Afghan veteran, Valery Radchikov, a former military intelligence operative who at the time of the cemetery bombing headed an Afghan veterans' group, had ordered the contract hit to kill the head of the rival Afghan War Veterans' Fund. The two groups were fighting over lucrative tax-free import privileges.

Once released, Smurov and Anohkin retracted their confessions.

Radchikov died in a car accident in 2001.

The acquittal was subsequently upheld by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court. But after prosecutors appealed, the case against Smurov and Anokhin was reopened.

Smurov was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison in a second trial in May 2003. The court found that the dispute between rival veterans' groups was the motive for the attack.

Anokhin was arrested again in November 2003.

Prosecutors in Anokhin's second trial asked for a sentence of 15 years in a maximum-security prison colony.

The court reduced this to 15 years in a medium-security facility, taking into account the fact that Alokhin had a young son and aged mother, as well as "his confession of guilt and active cooperation with the investigation," the court's ruling said.

The court also threw out charges of illegally building, transporting and selling explosive devices and weapons, finding that the statute of limitations had expired.