Georgia jails 'Russian-backed bomb plotters'
A court in ex-Soviet Georgia on Tuesday handed long prison sentences to a Russian officer and other men accused of involvement in bomb blasts near the US embassy and other targets.
One man was jailed for life and seven others, including the Russian major, for 30 years under anti-terrorism legislation, while seven more suspects received lesser sentences for their involvement in the alleged plot.
Prosecutors said the group staged several small explosions at locations including the US embassy, the central railway station in Tbilisi and an opposition party office last year, killing one person.
Officials said it was an "organised terrorist campaign" masterminded by the Russian officer, aimed at causing instability amid continuing tensions between Moscow and pro-Western Tbilisi since the arch foes fought a brief war in 2008.
Some of the convicted suspects, including the Russian officer named as Major Yevgeny Borisov, are still wanted by the authorities and were sentenced in their absence.
The authorities in Georgia have since arrested several more people suspected of involvement in other Russian-sponsored bomb plots, including an alleged plan to attack a NATO office in Tbilisi earlier this month.
Moscow has repeatedly dismissed allegations of involvement.
© 2011 AFP