Trial begins of suspected Russian militant leader accused of masterminding terrorist attacks

A former Russian policeman accused of joining the Islamic insurgency in Russia's Caucasus has gone on trial on charges of masterminding a string of terrorist attacks.

Investigators say Ali Taziyev is second-in-command of the Caucasus Emirate, which Russia and the United States consider to be a terrorist organization.

Taziyev, who was captured in 2010, is charged with heading an armed militant group accused of carrying out 24 bombings and other deadly attacks.

State television showed the bearded Taziyev at the start of his trial Monday in a military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

Russian state news agencies reported that he pleaded guilty to setting up an illegal armed group and illegal arms trafficking, but denied any involvement in terrorist attacks.