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A criminal case against two men charged with involvement
A criminal case against two men charged with involvement in one of Russia's bloodiest terrorist attacks has been referred for trial, the Prosecutor General's Office said on Tuesday.

A militant group led by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev took 2,000 people hostage in a hospital in the southern town of Budyonovsk in 1995. The ensuing siege lasted six days and eventually claimed the lives of 147 people, after the gang used the hostages as a human shield during a police operation to free those held captive.

"The preliminary investigation has indicated that in 1995 [Abubakar] Mezhiyev and [Igor] Sokolov attacked Budyonovsk as part of a group led by Shamil Basayev," prosecutors said in a statement.

Basayev later claimed responsibility for the 2004 Beslan school massacre. Basayev, Chechnya's number one terrorist, was killed in July 2006.

Both Mezhiyev and Sokolov, who were alleged to be among the some 80 to 150 Chechen militants involved in the terrorist attack, have been on Russia's wanted list ever since the hospital siege.

In April 2007, Mezhiyev was detained in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Chechnya during a special operation. His suspected accomplice, Sokolov, was detained in July 2007 in the Tver Region, in central Russia.


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