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DUBAI (Reuters) - A Dubai court convicted two men Monday of involvement in the 2009 assassination of Chechen military commander Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai, and handed them a life sentence.
The men, Makhsood Jan Asmatov of Tajikistan and Iranian Mehdi Taqi Dahuria, were charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of Yamadayev, who was shot dead in the car park of a luxury seaside apartment block with a Russian-made handgun.
Yamadayev fought against Russia in the first Chechen war of 1994-96 when Moscow suffered a humiliating defeat and had to pull out of the separatist southern province.
But like some other leading rebels, he switched to the Russian side after then-President Vladimir Putin sent troops in 1999 to retake mainly Muslim Chechnya.
Yamadayev became the commander of the Vostok battalion, a unit of battle-hardened former rebels which played a key role in subduing large-scale separatist resistance in Chechnya. In 2005 he was named a "Hero of Russia," the top national honour.
Sulim Yamadayev, a foe of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, had challenged Kadyrov for control of local security forces until 2008, when he was dismissed from command of an elite battalion and forced to flee.
Dubai police named Adam Delimkhanov, an adviser to Kadyrov, as the person who masterminded the murder. Delimkhanov has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Writing by Tamara Walid; Editing by Matthew Jones