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Beslan siege organisers named by Russian parliamentarians

Published time: December 22, 2006 11:00
Edited time: December 22, 2006 11:00

Chechens Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basaev and Kuwaiti Abu-Dzeit have been named as organisers of the Beslan terrorist attack by a Russian parliamentary commission investigating the 2004 siege.

The commission is producing a report for the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament on Friday.

The report is expected to be thorough and detailed as it took almost 2 years to compile.

According the head of the commission, Aleksandr Torshin, the report describes what preceded the siege, the preparations by the terrorists and the way they managed to sneak into the Republic of North Ossetia, where city of Beslan is located.

Mr Torshin is reported to say that the explosion which rocked the school building was caused by terrorists.

The current version of the report supposedly includes the analysis of the security officers activities.

It initially planned to publish the report in September but then it had to be amended and the publication was delayed. Now it's read in the presence of the press.

The publication delay was mainly due to the separate report by the committee's member, Yuri Savelyev, in which he expressed a totally different version compared to the official one.

Mr Savelyev claimed that up to 78 terrorists took part in the siege while officially there were 32 of them. He wrote that the attack could have been prevented as the North Ossetian authorities knew about it 3 hours prior.

He also claimed the huge loss of life was caused by the actions of security officers and not by the terrorists. Savelyev accused the security forces of firing tank shots at the school building while the hostages were still inside.

Savelyev's claims so far have not been denounced officially but the Chairman of the Federation Council, Sergey Mironov, earlier remarked that Mr Savelyev's report contains factual mistakes. However his questions should be answered in the final version of the parliamentary commission's report.

The investigation into the siege is still underway. The only verdict so far is that of Nurpashi Kulayev, the only terrorist who was caught alive after the siege and was sentenced to life in prison.

Meanwhile the head of Beslan Mothers Committee Susanna Dudieva has said the committee does not agree with the parliamentary commission report. “We totally disagree with all the pointing Torshin reports. He said there were 32 terrorists. We doubt this. But actually we don’t care that much about how many terrorists there were. What’s important is that they managed to sieze the school building. The security service and the ministry of the interior made it possible for them to come sieze the school and kill the children. We don’t agree with Torshin saying that there is no evidence that tanks and trench-throwers were used to storm the school building. What kind of evidence does Torshin need? There were about 50 hostages who testified in court that they used tanks and trench-throwers while storming the building. I can give you the names of all these people. We also don’t agree that the building was stormed after the explosion in the gym took place,” claimed the Ms. Dudieva.

The investigation into Beslan school siege has become one of the biggest cases in modern russian history. Two years on it is still continuing amid neverending specualtion and controversy. The realtives of the victims are still demanding a more thorough investigation and want all those responsible to be brought to justice.

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