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The Prosecutor General is reminded about ‘Nord-Ost’
Written by Ольга Алленова   
Четверг, 12 Июль 2007

By Olga Allenova

In Kommersant

Victims of the terror act accuse Nikolai Patrushev of negligence

The ‘Nord-Ost’ public organization yesterday petitioned the Prosecutor General’s office with a demand that criminal charges be brought against members of the operational headquarters responsible for the rescue of hostages from the Dubrovka theatrical center. They are accused of negligence and hiding information on the dangerous gas used by the special services.

According to the ‘Nord-Ost’ terror act victims, they were only now appealing to the Prosecutor General because they had spent the last five years “collecting proofs, questioning witnesses, and studying materials from the criminal case while under constant resistance from the prosecutor’s office”.

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The ‘Nord-Ost’ organization wasted several years in trying to receive access to portions of the case materials. “All our requests and petitions to the Moscow prosecutor’s office were denied,” reported Dmitry Milovidov, one of the leaders of the ‘Nord-Ost’ organization. “Thanks to the efforts of the lawyers and the judges at the Zamoskvoretsky court, we were able to view 17 volumes of the case materials. In addition, each of the victims has the right to view those pages in the case in which the name of their dead relative is mentioned. In such a way we collected the necessary evidence.”

While studying materials from the criminal case, the victims concluded that the operational headquarters was guilty of a majority of the deaths of the hostages, since they used gas and carried out a rescue operation that was disorganized. According to Mr. Milovidov, the case materials contain the testimonies of physicians proving that they did not know the cause of the hostages’ toxic symptoms, and had received only six ampoules of antidote for 40 victims. The physicians also testified that, after the assault, not every hostage received assistance, and that the living and dead were piled together inside buses located on Melnikov Street #10. ‘Nord-Ost’ chairman Tatiana Karpova maintains that this was the reason her son Alexander died. According to her, the ambulance call sheet for the vehicle that picked up the bodies of hostages from the theatrical center contains an annotation that its time of arrival on the scene was 12:30, i.e.: six hours after the end of the assault. The place where they picked up the body of Alexander Karpov was indicated in the document as a bus on Melnikov Street #10.

“On this call sheet it’s written that when the moment he was examined in the morgue, Sasha’s body temperature was 35 degrees C (95 F),” says Mrs. Karpova. “The bodies of hostages whose deaths were fixed at 9–10 a.m. had temperatures of 20–22 degrees C (68–72 F). Moreover, it was stated that the cause of death was poisoning and the place of death was in the ambulance. This means that for six hours Sasha was still alive and no one gave him any assistance. This is not the only such case: we have more than 30 witnesses whom the Prosecutor General can question, if he wishes.”

The victims believe that the prosecutor’s office did not include the deaths of hostages in the case because the investigators’ assignment was to prove the guilt of the terrorists, and no one wanted to get to the bottom of the hostages’ deaths. “After the terror act the ‘Vympel’ and ‘Alfa’ (FSB special operations) fighters got awards. We do believe that they deserve these,” says Mrs. Karpova. “But Patrushev, Pronichev, and Tikhonov (the FSB director, his assistant, and the director of the special services center) also received stars as ‘Heroes of Russia’. These persons didn’t prevent the terror act and made the decision to use gas against the hostages. They also did not warn the rescuers and doctors about the gas’s characteristics and its serious side effects, nor they did not put together a rescue operation. A crime should be punished, not rewarded. We wrote this to President Putin and to the Prosecutor General.”

The victims demand the Prosecutor General bring a criminal case against the FSB chiefs and other members of the headquarters staff under Article 237, part 2 (“Withholding information, on the part of a person who occupies a government post, about circumstances posing a threat to human life and health”) and Article 293, part 3 (“Negligence leading to the death of two or more persons”).

At present the investigation into the terror act, in which 129 people died, has been halted. The formal reason for this is the inability of ascertaining the whereabouts of two terrorist-accomplices. At the Prosecutor General’s office they reported that the victims’ petition would be examined “within the timeframe required by law”. The answer, however, may be self-evident: the Moscow city prosecutor’s office has already refused the victims’ demand to bring charges against military and medical participants in the operation.

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