High-Profile Terrorism Trial Starts In Russia's Tatarstan

KAZAN, Russia -- A high-profile terrorism trial has kicked off in Russia's mostly Muslim-populated region of Tatarstan.

A military court in the regional capital, Kazan, started hearings into the case on October 20 against nine men charged with terrorism-related offenses.

The men, all residents of Tatarstan's central city of Chistopol, are accused of being members of the so-called Chistopol Jamaat radical Islamist group.

Investigators say the group is behind the July 2012 attacks in Kazan in which Tatarstan's Grand Mufti Ildus Faizov was seriously injured and his former deputy, Valiulla Yakupov, was killed.

They are also accused of carrying out seven arson attacks against Orthodox churches in Tatarstan and a handmade-missile attack against a chemical plant in 2013.

In 2012 and 2014, two leaders of Chistopol Jamaat were killed by security officers.

Six other members of the group were jailed in 2014.

Human rights activists have expressed concerns that the suspects were tortured while in custody.