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Six years later they remembered about the looters
Written by Ольга Караулова   
Среда, 03 Декабрь 2008

Обзор газет

The investigation department of the investigative committee at the Moscow prosecutor's office has launched an inquiry into looting that occurred during the rescue of hostages at Dubrovka. The hostages had been captured while viewing the musical 'Nord-Ost' in October of 2002. Igor Trunov, the lawyer representing the interests of the victims, told 'Gazeta' that on November 20th a criminal case was opened in accordance with Article 158 of the Criminal Code (Theft).

Relatives of the victims, and survivors, began pursuit of criminal charges six years ago. The main suspect was FSB investigator Lilyukhin, but no charges were brought against him as he had died in a car accident in March of 2005. Relatives of the victims asked for the return of personal belongings and money, but investigators ignored the appeals.

As a result, lawsuits were filed at the Zamoskvoretsky court in Moscow on behalf of relatives of hostage Maksim Mikhailov, and victim Yekaterina Dolgaya. A similar complaint came from relatives of victim Svetlana Apshevaya.

«In all statements it says that money and the valuables, which the hostages had in their possession when they arrived that evening at the musical, were handed over to investigators for safekeeping, and subsequently disappeared. The defendants in these suits are the Moscow prosecutor's office, the Finance Department, and the city government of Moscow,» the magazine writes.

Presumably, there are hundreds of cases of looting at Dubrovka, but only 15 official documents confirm the loss of valuables. The lawyer noted, however, that theft of money and valuables during terrorist attacks and disasters is not fully consistent with the law on theft, since during such tragedies it is often impossible to determine who owned which valuables, or to find the victims. The Criminal Codex does not have a separate criminal article that provides punishment for looting.

«The victims of the terror attack themselves doubt that they will be able to get anything back,» writes 'Novye Izvestiya'. Tatiana Karpova, co-chair of the 'Nord-Ost' regional public organization, is not sure that it will even be investigated. «They blame everything on those who died or were killed,» she said to 'NI'. According to Karpova, there was mass looting during the rescue of the hostages. Her son, who was killed during the assault, had his wedding ring and a chain with a Celtic cross taken from him.

News overview prepared by Olga Karaulova of the BBC Monitoring Service.

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