( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's Supreme Court upheld Thursday a 17-year prison sentence earlier handed down to Ali Kaitov, the former son-in-law of the president of Karachayevo-Circassia.
"The court ruled to leave the Karachayevo-Circassian Supreme Court's verdict unchanged, and not to grant appeals by the defendants and their lawyers," the court said.
In 2006, the Supreme Court of the southern Russian republic sentenced to various prison terms 16 men found guilty of murdering seven people in 2004.
The gang leader, Ali Kaitov, was sentenced to 17 years in a high-security prison, and his 15 accomplices were given various terms of imprisonment ranging from eight-and-a-half years to life.
The bodies of seven residents of Karachayevo-Cherkessia - regional lawmaker Rasul Bogatyryov and six of his friends - who had disappeared early on October 11, 2004, were found in an abandoned mine near the village of Kumysh, in the Karachayevsk district. Their relatives said they had headed for the out-of-town house of Ali Kaitov, chairman of the Kavkaz-Tsement company and son-in-law of the president of Karachayevo-Circassia. Witnesses said they later heard bursts of automatic fire near the house that continued for about half an hour.
Kaitov was arrested on October 25, 2004, while the other suspects were arrested later.
The "Kaitov case" sent shock waves throughout the republic, leading to rioting in which the relatives of the dead seized the republic's main government building, demanding the resignation of the republic's president as well as that of senior law enforcement officials.