Victims of Beslan hostage crisis demand death penalty to the only arrested terrorist

Relatives of the children, who were killed in the Beslan crisis demand the terrorist should be lynched or executed; all local lawyers refused to defend the terrorist

The litigation on the criminal case filed after the tragic events in the town of Beslan, in Russia's south, started in the republic of North Ossetia yesterday. Nurpasha Kulayev acts as a defendant on the case – he is the only terrorist, who remained alive after the monstrous terrorist act that shocked the whole world in September 1-3 of 2004. The investigation presented 105 volumes of the criminal case to the court; the indictment takes four volumes. 1,343 people act as the injured party on the trial. The terrorist has been charged with murder, terrorism, kidnapping, etc, although he has pleaded guilty on only seven counts.

Deputy Russian Prosecutor in Russia's Southern administrative district, Nikolai Shepel, was reading out the sentence from 11 a.m. till 17 p.m. The prosecutor failed to read the part of the text about horrible details of the terrorist act. Relatives of the children, who were killed in the hostage crisis in Beslan, disrupted the court session when they started demanding death penalty for the defendant.

It became known as a result of the investigation that terrorists developed the large-scale operation to take hostages in Beslan in July-August of 2004. Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev, Aslan Maskhadov, Magomed Khashiev and Arab terrorist Abu Dzeit personally coordinated all parts of the terrorist operation. They set the date of the attack on September 1st, which is the start of the school year in Russia. Terrorist Ruslan Khuchbarov told his gunmen one day before the attack that they would need to take civilians and children hostage in School No.1 in the town of Beslan. According to the operation, the terrorists were going to hold the hostages until the Russian administration started withdrawing federal troops from Chechnya. They also demanded the activity of Chechen armed groups and their leaders should be legalized. A group of about 30 camouflaged Chechen terrorists and foreign hirelings started the attack in the morning of September 1, 2004.

Until recently, defendant Nurpasha Kulayev had no official defense on the trial. All local lawyers refused to defend the terrorist; the court was forced to appoint a defense council for Kulayev in order to be able to start the process. The court exposed the lawyer's name right before the process started, in an attempt to save the lawyer from the anger of the people, who lost their loved ones in Beslan. “It goes without saying that it would be impossible to explain it to the people that it is just a lawyer, that the law requires every defendant should be provided with a lawyer, no matter how horrible a crime could be. One should obviously take account of moral and ethical aspects of the case too, although it does not mean that the position of the defense council coincides with the ideology of the defendant,” local lawyer Mark Gagloyev told the Vremya Novostei newspaper.

”When I was told that I would be Kulayev's lawyer, I was not happy at all. It was a shock for me,” the terrorist's defense lawyer, Albert Pliyev said. “As soon as I had the document in my hands, I went to the detention center to see the defendant. It took me ten days to become acquainted with the materials of the case. The details of it were horrid, it was hard to read the pages. I do not want to remember anything of that at all. I think that the hearings will probably last for three or four months, or even a year. Needless to say that it will not be easy for the people in the court room to go through that nightmare again,” Albert Pliyev said.

According to the lawyer, the defendant was quiet during the court session. Nurpasha Kulayev was sitting on the bar with his head down, listening to what the relatives of the killed children were screaming. The people wanted to either lynch the defendant or sentence him to death penalty. They asked the court to tell them, whom exactly Kulayev killed – they did not want to listen to numerous volumes of the case.

The judge did not want the people to arrange a fight in the court room and was forced to close the session. The hearings will be resumed on May 19th.

On the lower photo: Nurpasha Kulayev

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Author`s name Olga Savka