Russian court convicts Chechen for fighting in Syria: report
A Russian court in Chechnya's capital of Grozny has sentenced a man to two years for fighting in Syria against Bashar al-Assad's regime, a report said Tuesday.
The man, Said Mazhayev, fought in the rebel Free Syrian Army from November 2013 to January 2014 and was charged with participating in a foreign armed group when he returned home, according to case details on the prosecution's webpage.
Russia's official "terrorist list" says Said Mazhayev was from Grozny and is 22 years old.
The verdict convicting and sentencing Mazhayev was pronounced on November 10 and the court took into account that Mazhayev pleaded guilty, the report by the Kavkaz Uzel website that tracks news around the Caucasus region said, quoting a prosecutor.
Mazhayev's time in Syria apparently preceded the most recent influx of foreign jihadists to Iraq and Syria that followed recruitment calls by the Islamic State (IS) group and other militant organisations that seek an Islamist state in the Middle East.
The United Nations said last month that around 15,000 people have travelled to the conflict zone from countries like Russia which now face the threat of returning militants.
Experts estimate that Russian fighters constitute the biggest single fighting force from a non-Muslim country, many of them allied with Russia's own Islamist insurgency in the northern Caucasus.
Chechnya's controversial leader Ramzan Kadyrov has admitted that Chechens are fighting on both sides of the Syrian conflict, but threatened IS jihadists with punishment from God.
As a result he was reportedly put on an IS hit-list with a $5 million bounty on his head.
© 2014 AFP