Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beslan 4 years on

Via AFP:

The remembrance ceremonies climax Wednesday, exactly four years after a battle between besieging Russian special forces and hostage-takers demanding withdrawal of troops from nearby Chechnya.

But anguish mixed with anger at the authorities in Moscow and here in North Ossetia, a mountainous region bordering Georgia's South Ossetia province, which Russian troops occupied last month.

The head of the survivors' group Voice of Beslan, Ella Kesayeva, said a petition had been filed with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to try to force out the truth.

Survivors want to know why no-one, other than the one surviving hostage taker, has been punished for the episode in which more than 1,000 people were held for three days inside the school.

A handful of police were tried for negligence in allowing a heavily armed group to reach the school on September 1, but they were either cleared or amnestied.

An official enquiry has cleared the security services of blame in the disastrous battle where heavy weapons were used to crush fierce resistance by hostage-takers inside the packed school building.

Many believe there has been a cover-up.

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