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Suspension of the investigation into the 2002 Dubrovka theatrical center hostage case
Written by Эхо Москвы, Новости   
Пятница, 01 Июнь 2007

Radio ‘Echo of Moscow’ news

Эхо МосквыIgor Trunov, the lawyer representing the victims of the terror act, told radio station ‘Echo of Moscow’ that the decision by the Moscow prosecutor’s office is difficult to explain. “The fact is, that there really was no investigation.” As Trunov explained, “the Moscow prosecutor’s resolution states that the investigation was being suspended because they were unable to determine the whereabouts of the accused. The document even reports that two persons are on the ‘wanted’ list.”

From another standpoint, the investigators determined that there were 52 terrorists. Forty of these were killed during the special operation, so it turns out that 12 got away. Two are on the ‘wanted’ list, but where the other 10 are is not known at all.

According to Trunov, the defense team for the victims will certainly appeal to higher agencies the decision to suspend the investigation.

Chief of the ‘Nord-Ost’ committee, Tatiana Karpova, told radio station ‘Echo of Moscow’ on the air that she cannot hide her indignation at the decision by the Moscow prosecutor’s office. She stressed that it takes a lot away from the victims.

Sergey Karpov, one of the heads of the ‘Nord-Ost’ committee also on the air stated that even without all of this, the people who suffered at the Dubrovka theatrical center had it rough. “This fall it will be five years since the seizure of hostages in the Dubrovka theatrical center, when more than 900 people ended up in the terrorists’ hands,” he stated. “130 of them died, and more than 700 have suffered injuries of one form or another. Meanwhile, after all these years, we have still not found out anything specific about the results of the investigation.”

“What gas did the special services use during the assault?” Karpov asked. “Why was not medical assistance provided in a timely manner? How many terrorists were there in the theater? People are still unable to get answers to these questions. A criminal case was opened on October 24th, 2002. That is, on the day after the seizure of the theatrical center on Dubrovka. Terrorism and hostage taking, they opened the case with these articles. In the beginning of November the prosecutor’s office presented the first of the accused: an immigrant from the North Caucasus. At the time they did not give his name to the media. He was accused of telling the terrorists by phone where the special services and police were located around the theatrical center. They questioned hundreds of witnesses in this huge case. After awhile the prosecution declared that Shamil Basayev organized the terror act, and that to do this he brought in more than 50 persons. A year passed and the investigation pretty much stopped. Relatives of the dead and the injured complained that since December of 2003 only one investigator has been handling the case.”

“Really, can such a large-scale tragedy be investigated by one man, no matter how much of a genius he might be?” asked Tatiana Karpova, leader of the ‘Nord-Ost’ public organization. Her people had to start their own investigation into the terror act. Over the next few years nothing changed, and the deadline more than once was extended, but the general picture had not changed. The gas, as before, remained unknown, as well as the number of gunmen in the building. According to official data, Barayev’s group had 40 people, while former hostages spoke of 54 terrorists. In 2005 the people demanded an independent investigation from President Putin. A half-year later the relatives and victims of the terror act at the Dubrovka theatrical center demanded an official statement that the hostage rescue operation ended in failure. Then the ‘Nord-Ost’ public organization presented a report that confirmed that a whole host of facts were falsified during the investigation, and pointed out the mistakes made by the organizers of the hostage rescue operation. A month ago the victims of the Dubrovka terror act declared that they intended to demand the capital city prosecutor’s office open a new criminal case.

Moscow city parliament speaker Vladimir Platonov (who is, by the way, a former employee in the prosecutor’s office) is full of optimism, despite everything. He reminded radio station ‘Echo of Moscow’ that the decision to stop the investigation does not mean that the search for guilty will cease. Platonov expressed confidence that those participating in the Dubrovka terror act would be found and punished.

Viktor Ilyukhin has much less optimism. He is a member of the parliament’s security committee, and also a former prosecutor. In his opinion, the main problem with the investigation into ‘Nord-Ost’ is that they still have not determined for certain who were the organizers of the awful act of terror. “As far as the suspended cases,” Ilyukhin noted. “They often remain that way.”


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