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Terrorist attack on Dubrovka: A case, but no answers
Written by   
, 17 2014


The reopening of the investigation into the October 2002attack on actors and spectators at the musical Nord-Ost

On Wednesday, Russia's Investigative Committee (ICRF) confirmed several media reports on the resumption of the criminal investigation into the seizure of the Dubrovka Theater Center, which occurred October 23, 2002. In2007, the Moscow city prosecutor's office suspended the investigation due to the fact that it was not possible to detain organizers of the attack. Sixterrorist accomplices received sentences ranging from 81/2 to 22years in prison. ICRFrepresentative Vladimir Markin reported on the arrest of Chechen native Hassan Zakayev, who is suspected of organizing the attack. Hewas arrested in August, but information about this has only lately appeared in themedia.

The trial of Hassan Zakayev is being conducted behind closed doors in the Moscow City Court, as reported by Interfax. According to the journalists from Kommersant, Zakayev was responsible for delivering to Moscow in trucks from Chechnya weapons, explosives, and suicide vests. TheICRF also found Gerihan Dudayev to have been involved in the terrorist act, and an international manhunt was announced (for the suspect). Thefollowing is what Igor Trunov, counsel for the victims of the terrorist attack, knows about Hassan Zakayev and Gerihan Dudayev.

Igor Trunov: The case was reopened because one of the suspects on the international most-wanted list was detained. Thesecond remains at large. Zamoskvoretsky Court extended Zakayev's detention until February. Thevalue of his arrest is in the inevitability of his punishment. Aspart of an organized group, he picked up weapons and carried out certain actions, as well as being the organizer or an accomplice in organizing this and other attacks. Hedisappeared for a long time, but was arrested in the Crimea while trying to enter the Ukraine.
It makes ones eyes sting a little, that he is, among other things, accused of using toxic substances. Ido not understand where the investigation is heading with this did he participate into releasing gas into the auditorium? Ingeneral, no one is giving straight answers to these questions yet.

On October 23rd, 2002, during a performance of the musical Nord-Ost, terrorists took hostage more than 900people and held them for three days. Asa result of an assault on October 26th, all the terrorists were killed and 130hostages died, among them 10children. Tatiana Karpova is a co-chairman of the Nord-Ost public organization and lost her son in the terrorist attack, She does not believe that the arrest of Hassan Zakayev will assist in the investigation.

Tatiana Karpova: For a long time Ihave not believed it to be an objective investigation, because there is an order by Mr. Putin to identify Nord-Ost and the hostage deaths as a state secret on a grand scale. Therefore, we have no access to materials in the investigation. Theywill not do anything! Maybe they grabbed the first one they could find and framed him for the terror attack.

According to Dmitry Milovidov, also of the Nord-Ost organization (his two daughters, one of whom perished at Nord-Ost, were also hostages), the arrest of Zakayev and the resumption of the investigation into the terrorist attack on Dubrovka is just a technicality. Relatives still have not received answers to more important issues which gas was used in the assault and on whose orders, why was the evacuation not organized and competent medical assistance to the victims not provided. Inan interview with Radio Liberty, Dmitry Milovidov said that relatives of the victims did not find out about the arrest of Hassan Zakayev until the beginning of autumn.

Dmitry Milovidov: In September, the victims in the terrorist attack on Dubrovka started receiving notice that on August 21st the FSB had arrested one of the terrorist accomplices from the attack on Dubrovka a certain Zakayev. Hehas repeatedly come to the attention of the security services, but they had not succeeded in detaining him. Onetime he was spotted near Volgograd by traffic police officers when a child traveling with him died, but he had forged documents and managed to escape that time. Thereopening of the Nord-Ost case at present is in no way is associated with the implementation of decisions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in which they recommend that Russia conduct a proper investigation into the causes of death of victims of the terror attack. Wehad hoped that a proper investigation would be performed, due to and based on the decision of the European Court, but using various pretexts, Moscow City Court decided againstit.

So, the present reopening of the case is a formality associated only with the arrest of one of the small fry. Obviously, his case, as well as the cases of others who were detained earlier, will take place in separate proceedings, while the victims will not in any way be able to participate in it, nor afterwards will we even know anything about it. Thisis the situation, in our opinion.

Radio Svoboda: What answers would you and other relatives of the deceased wish to receive in the course of an honest investigation into the Dubrovka terrorist attack that occurred 12yearsago?

Dmitry Milovidov: We would like to know why our relatives were not given appropriate medical care, why one boy was found in the grass with bloody foam coming from his mouth, why they would employ a secret compound that could actually provoke the terrorists into a response, that is, a compound that was not instantaneous and had noticeable color and smell? Thissecret compound had no specific antidote invented for it. Whywere doctors in the hospitals never informed about this compound, and ended up looking haphazardly for some kind of antidote to use against it, and not always being successful their attempts?

Radio Svoboda: Do you have an understanding as to who gave the order to use this gas backthen?

Dmitry Milovidov: Undoubtedly the guilty party here is the Guarantor of the Constitution, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Without his permission, it is unlikely that the law enforcement agencies would have risked a possible violation of the Geneva Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons. Inaddition, no one wants to investigate if using this secret compound to resolve the hostage situation (could have made matters worse), the fighting continued for at least 28minutes while it was being used, according to an estimate by the security services, which is more than enough time for the terrorists to blow up the auditorium. Fortunately, there was no such response, but no one wants to investigate this, and no one will investigate this, of course, without the consent and on behalf of Putin.

Relatives of the hostages conducted their own investigation, wrote a report on events related to Nord-Ost, and presented their collective complaint to the ECHR. In2012, the court ordered the Russian government to pay the victims a total of nearly 1.3 million euros and recommended that Russia conduct an objective investigation into the causes of the hostages' deaths.

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