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ROSTOV-ON-DON, May 14 (Itar-Tass) - The North Caucasus district military court on Tuesday questioned the first four injured parties at the trial of Ali Taziyev, one of the leaders of an illegal paramilitary formation.
"The hearing will last until 18:00, Moscow time; the prosecutor is reading the evidence," a court official said.
The court building is under round-the-clock protection, an unprecedented security measure. The testimony of many witnesses will be broadcast via video-link for safety reasons. Taziyev, also known as "Magas," is accused on 15 counts, including armed mutiny. The defendant pleaded guilty to two charges.
The prosecutor said the objective pursued by Taziyev's gang was to separate North Caucasus from Russia, and set up an independent shariah state in the region. The main activity of the illegal paramilitary formation was shelling, staging explosions, and carrying out other acts intimidation against law-enforcement personnel, government representatives, clerics and civilians.
One of the most high-profile crimes of the gang was the assassination attempt on the life of Ingushetia leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov on June 22, 2009.
Although Taziyev is cooperating with the investigators, he is facing life imprisonment.
The case comprises 409 volumes. There are 984 injured parties in the case, 187 witnesses, 97 representative of natural persons and 27 representatives of legal entities.