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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Get Life for 2004 Metro Bombings

Itar-TassFrom left to right, Shavayev, Ponaryin and Khubiyev attending the reading of the verdict in the Moscow court Friday.
Three men convicted of helping pull off the 2004 metro bombings that killed more than 50 people were sentenced Friday to life in prison by the Moscow City Court.

Murat Shavayev, Maxim Ponaryin and Tamby Khubiyev were found guilty of murder, terrorism and other charges for their roles in organizing the two bombings.

Shavayev, a former Justice Ministry official, had denied any role in the attacks, while Ponaryin had plead guilty to some of the charges and Khubiyev to all of them, Prosecutor Alexander Kublyakov told reporters outside the courtroom.

The first attack took place Feb. 6, 2004, when suicide bomber Anzor Izhayev detonated explosives as a train approached the Avtozavodskaya station on the green line. The bombing killed 42 people and wounded 250.

The second bombing, on Aug. 31, 2004, was outside the Rizhskaya station on the orange line. That attack killed 10 and injured another 30. Both the female bomber and her senior handler, Nikolai Kipkeyev, died in the attack.

In the verdict, Shavayev and Khubiyev were found guilty of transporting the explosives used in the bombings from the southern city of Nalchik to Moscow.

"The driver who took Khubiyev and Shavayev to Moscow, as they were transporting the detonators and explosives, was able to identify Shavayev," said Kublyakov, the prosecutor. "The terrorists used a television set to hide the explosives, and whenever the car was stopped for inspection by authorities, Shavayev just flashed his ministry ID."

The defendants' lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

The verdict was issued behind closed doors because prosecutors were said to be presenting classified information.

According to the verdict, the attacks' mastermind was the Jordan-born warlord Khattab. The goal of the attacks was to frighten Russian authorities into withdrawing troops from Chechnya, the verdict stated. Russian agents had earlier killed Khattab.

The prosecutor identified two other men involved in planning the attacks, Abu al-Walid and Abu-Kuteip.

Shavayev, Ponaryin and Khubiyev were also ordered to pay more than $264,000 to the victims and relatives, the victims' lawyer, Igor Trunov, said.

"The court reduced what we were seeking by one-third," Trunov said. "There was no reason for doing this."

Trunov added that he would take up the matter of compensation with a new trial that is slated to take place at Tverskoi Court "in the near future."

Trunov said victims were pleased that Shavayev received the same punishment as the other two even though he was a high-placed government official.

"I think the press should have been admitted, at least for part of the hearings," Trunov told the 100 or so journalists at the courthouse, "so people would know that justice was handed down."