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Victims of the Nord-Ost terrorist attack accuse
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, 22 2007
Victims of the ‘Nord-Ost’ terrorist attack accuse Russian authorities of fraud and ignorance

Officials of the Russian Federation presented to the Strasbourg Court a memorandum concerning the events of October of 2002, which contains multiple falsehoods. According to a correspondent from Russian news agency ‘Noviy Region’, attorney Igor Trunov said this today in a press conference in Moscow. Trunov represents the interests of citizens affected by the terrorist attack in the theatrical center on Dubrovka. According to him, this suggests that the authorities are deliberately trying to mislead the international court by hiding the unprofessional actions of the operational headquarters, which, according to Trunov, led to a large number of casualties among the hostages.

“In the document, which was drawn up on behalf of the Russian Federation, there is deliberate manipulation of figures, which we regard as fraud,” said Trunov. “The figures provided in the memorandum are different from those obtained during the investigation.”
He pointed out that the document submitted to the Strasbourg Court stated that 650hostages were brought to hospitals after the assault, and of these 6later died, a fatality rate of 0.9%. “The drafters of the memorandum wish to show that highly efficient medical care was provided to the hostages,” said the attorney. “We have other numbers, however. Fromthe testimony of head physicians from medical institutions that received victims, it follows that 71persons died in these hospitals, so the figure is 10.8%.”

At the same time, Igor Trunov noted that the document also overestimated the amount of explosives used by the terrorists. “The drafters of the memorandum are trying to show that Barayev could have completely brought down the entire theatrical center, as well as the building next to it. Thecriminal case, however, contains calculations by FSB explosives experts that show that the terrorists could not bring down the building, even if they put set off all their charges at the theatrical center’s most vulnerable point. Inaddition, at the time of the assault, many of the charges were not in working order,” said Igor Trunov.

The attorney also placed doubt on the memorandum’s allegation that “the use of gas in the storming of the building complies with the provisions of the Paris Convention on the non-use of chemical weapons.” “How can you refer to the Paris Convention when it is still not known what kind of gas was used at Dubrovka?” contested Trunov.

“We were shaken by the formal approach used by the Russian government to reply to the international court,” said Tatyana Karpova, co-chair of the ‘Nord-Ost’ public organization and mother of a deceased Dubrovka hostage. “A large portion of the document contains the authors’ polemic against the translators of Strasbourg’s request, who referred to Barayev’s group as partisans. Theauthors of the memorandum used ten pages to discuss the inadmissibility of using the term ‘partisans’ for terrorists, and they give historical examples of the contributions of Russian partisans to victories in the war with Napoleon and the Great Patriotic War (ed: WW II). Atthe same time, this official document, prepared on behalf of the Russian Federation, contains 36errors in grammar and spelling.”

According to Karpova, she was most struck by a phrase discussing the absence of deaths from failure to render timely medical assistance. “We have documents concerning the circumstances of death for 73of the hostages, in which it is stated: ‘no data on the provision of medical care’,” said Karpova. “This memorandum, which protects the interests of the Russian State before the world community, wishes to show that everything possible was done possible to save the lives of the hostages. Butthis was not so. Fiveyears afterwards, many survivors of Dubrovka are still being treated in hospitals, and some have been diagnosed as permanently disabled.”

Karpova termed as false allegations made by the compilers of the memorandum, that the evacuation of people was professionally organized. “Altogether absent was any preliminary sorting of the living from the dead,” said the mother of a dead hostage. “There is evidence from physicians that dead hostages, already packed in plastic body bags, began to stir and come alive. Myson lay for seven hours in a body bag before he died. Hedid not reach cadaver temperature (before reaching the morgue). Theycould have saved him, or at least attempted to do so.”

According to Karpova, testimony from the bus drivers who transported hostages show that they did not know where exactly they were supposed to drive. “They ended up bringing these comatose people to a hospital that refused to accept them,” she said. “The 23hospitals that were prepared to receive casualties, also were unable to provide them with effective assistance. Thehospitals were prepared in advance for casualties with gunshot wounds, and injuries as a result of the collapse of the building. Instead, however, they brought in people who were poisoned by an unknown gas, and, moreover, despite the assurances of the authorities, there is no antidote to drugs based on fentanyl, which was used at ‘Nord-Ost’.”

In Karpova's opinion, proof of her words is in testimony by the hostages that state that the leadership of the operation to storm the theatrical center did not even consider negotiating with the terrorists, even though there were chances to do so.

“There was not a single professional negotiator there,” said Karpova. “Negotiations ended up being conducted by Kobzon, Pugacheva, Politkovskaya, Yavlinsky, Hakamada, Govorukhin, and Yastrzhembsky. Grigory Yavlinsky said in his testimony that, after he told the terrorists that their demand to stop the war in Chechnya and withdraw Russian troops could not be met, they agreed to release the hostages if ‘cleanups’ in Chechnya were terminated, if the shelling of populated areas ceased, and if telephonic negotiations between Putin and Maskhadov were organized. Theheadquarters, however, did not even consider the terrorists’ new demands.”

As Karpova noted, the authorities speak about the necessity to assault the theatrical center when the terrorists began shooting the hostages. “Of the five people shot at Dubrovka, only two were hostages,” said Karpova. “All on their own, the other three made their way into the captured theatrical center, and this summoned an aggressive response from the terrorists.”

According to her, the memorandum draws attention to the terrorists’ level of experience. Itindicates that the members of Barayev’s group were involved in a number of terrorist attacks going back to 1995. “In Barayev’s group, however, there were six minors, and Barayev himself was only 23years old,” said Tatyana Karpova.

Members of the ‘Nord-Ost’ public organization told how they had filed with the prosecutor’s office an application requiring that criminal charges be brought against the leaders of the operational headquarters for criminal negligence that resulted in peoples’ deaths. Three of leaders of the operational headquarters, by the way, received the ‘Hero of Russia’ medal for this operation.

“We will fight until the end,” said Tatyana Karpova. “What happened five years ago on Dubrovka was not assistance to citizens, but a mess for which the Russian government should be held accountable.”

Recall that from October 2326, 2002, 912people were held hostage during the terrorist attack on the musical ‘Nord-Ost’. 130of them died, and more than 700were injured.

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1. Written by website, on 01-11-200721:07
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