A Russian military court on Tuesday sentenced to life in prison a suspected Islamist militant accused of organising terror attacks that killed 26 people and wounded 344.
Ali Taziyev -- known in the Russian media by his nom de guerre, Magas -- was believed to be the righthand man of Doku Umarov, the leader of Russia's Islamist rebels and one of the primary plotters of bombing attacks against Russian targets.
Taziyev was also accused of organising a failed June 2009 assassination attempt against Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, head of the impoverished North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, which neighbours Chechnya.
Russian media said Taziyev had served as the top military commander in Umarov's Caucasus Emirat movement, which seeks to create an Islamic state along Russia's volatile southern rim.
Russia waged two post-Soviet wars in Chechnya and has since seen violence spill over to neighbouring North Caucasus republics such as Ingushetia and Dagestan.
But Moscow is keen to project an image of having established order in the region ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in the nearby Black Sea resort of Sochi, which kick off on February 7.