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Nord-Lost*
Written by Влад Ъ-Трифонов   
Суббота, 02 Июнь 2007

By Vlad Trifonov in Kommersant

The prosecutor’s office has ceased its investigation into the terror act at Dubrovka

Прокуратура прекратила расследование теракта на Дубровке As became known yesterday, the investigation into the circumstances of the terror act in the theatrical center on Dubrovka in Moscow, where 125 persons died, has been brought to a stop. The formal reason for this was the impossibility of determining the whereabouts of two of the terrorists’ accomplices – Gerihan Dudayev and Hassan Zakayev. In the investigators’ resolution to suspend the case, it was noted that the organizer of the terror act was Shamil Basayev, who died from his own carelessness and not as a result of an FSB special operation. Igor Trunov, who represents the victims, intends to appeal the resolution.

In the case concerning the seizure of almost a thousand hostages at the musical ‘Nord-Ost’ in 2002, the presence of Gerihan Dudayev and Hassan Zakayev (they were presented as defendants in their absence and are on the international ‘wanted’ list) has twice helped the investigators. In November of last year, soon after the 4th anniversary of the terror act, citing the necessity for searching for the accused, the Russian Attorney General sanctioned an extension of the investigation’s deadline. Now Anisimov, an investigator for the Moscow prosecutor who deals with especially important cases, cited the impossibility of determining the whereabouts of the accused and has submitted a resolution to suspend the investigation.

The investigator’s decision was motivated by the fact that the deadline for the preliminary investigation has run out, and the investigation is impossible to compete without the participation of those on the ‘wanted’ list. Therefore, unless the accused are caught, the ‘Nord-Ost’ case can be considered closed.

Yesterday, the attorney for the victims’ families, Igor Trunov, received the resolution. He called it “illogical and closing the door on the last hope for a just investigation”. The attorney found two interesting facts in the text of the resolution. According to figures from the investigators, 52 persons were brought in to plan and carry out the terror act. Forty of these were killed during the assault on the theatrical center on Dubrovka. Even if one adds the organizer of the terror act, Shamil Basayev, to the dead (he died in September of 2006), the two hunted accomplices, Dudayev and Zakayev, the four members of the Aslanbek Haskhanov’s so-called reserve group (they were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment by the Moscow city court), and a certain suicide martyr named Daurova (participants in the reserve group brought her to Moscow to distract the police, but she was let go and disappeared), then “either way, the numbers don’t add up, several persons are unaccounted for, and this is very strange,” the attorney notes.

Besides the above, the resolution by the investigator from the Moscow city prosecutor’s office casts doubts one of the largest FSB special operations in recent years. From the document, the organizer of the hostage taking at Dubrovka, Shamil Basayev, “together with undetermined persons” did not die as a result of the action of the special services, but from the accidental “detonation of an explosive device during its transfer from an undetermined automobile” in Ingushetia. “It turns out that Basayev’s death was an accident, and one need not talk about some sort of success on the part of the special services in this case,” noted Igor Trunov.

The attorney intends to appeal in court the resolution to suspend the investigation. He stated that the European Court of Human Rights, to which the victims have turned, has already sent the Russian side a list of questions that they are to answer before June 27th. “This means that, even if the Moscow prosecutor’s office does not wish to investigate the terror case, the Euro court intends to get to the bottom of this story,” noted the attorney.

At the Moscow prosecutor’s office they declared that the resolution submitted by the investigator does not mean the end of the Dubrovka terror case: “The suspension of the case is because persons that cannot be brought forward, who must be brought to criminal justice. As soon as these persons are found, or some other new information appears in the case, the investigation will be renewed.”

(*Translator’s note: Original title, ‘Nord-Ostanovka’, is a play on words with ‘Nord-Ost’ — the play showing at the time of the terror act — and ‘Ostanovka’ — Russian for a pause or stop. It does not translate concisely, so ‘Nord-Lost’ was substituted in English.)


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