Ex-Russian Mayor Accused of Plotting to Shoot Down Rival's Plane

PHOTO: Mayor of Makhachkala Said Amirov speaks at his office in Makhachkala April 25, 2013.

A former Russian mayor has reportedly been accused of plotting to shoot a political opponent out of the sky.

The Russian daily Kommersant reported today that Said Amirov, who was the mayor of Makhachkala until he was detained in June, has been charged with illegal arms trafficking and planning to commit a terrorist act. He and his nephew reportedly planned to assassinate their region's representative in parliament by having a rocket launcher fired at his plane.

Amirov's lawyer told RIA Novosti the charges are "fantasy."

"It is the fantasy of investigative bodies – and let them fantasize. All the accusations are on the level of Jules Verne," Mark Kruter said.

Amirov was arrested in June, accused of ordering the murder of an investigator.

Makhachkala is the capital of Dagestan, one of Russia's most violent regions and home to an Islamist insurgency. It gained notoriety earlier this year as the previous home of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers.

Attacks on police and raids on suspected terror hideouts are not uncommon. Also today, a senior police sergeant was wounded in an attack in the city, according to Russia's Interfax news agency. In a separate shooting elsewhere in the city, a security guard was shot in the chest, Interfax reported.

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