Nurpashi Kulayev, the only terrorist who survived the Beslan school siege, is trying to disavow the depositions he gave during the pre-trial investigation. The Supreme Court of North Ossetia is in session on the case of “the Beslan terrorist.”
At the beginning of court hearings the prosecution filed a request for clarification of the conflicting depositions given by Mr. Kulayev during the pre-trial investigation and in court. Prosecutor Maria Semisynova claimed she could not proceed until the depositions of the accused looked clear to her. The judge requested for consent of the accused. The accused said he did not understand what the prosecution was talking about. He also demanded a lawyer. He agreed to answer the questions only after taking advice from his lawyer.
He confirmed that the officials asked him about his state of health prior to questioning him. He was offered services of an interpreter. The accused gave all the depositions of his own free will. According to the prosecutor, Mr. Kulayev said during the pre-trial investigation that he had been issued an submachine gun and four ammunition clips. Then he was given orders to shoot at the police.
The accused signed a transcript of his interrogation in the presence of his lawyer. However, he made repeated claims during the court session that he had put his signature without reading the contents of the document. He claims he has not fired a single shot during the school siege. He also insists that he was not aware of a particular target the terrorists were going to hit. The terrorists had been already on the school premises when his team arrived there, according to the accused. The prosecutor reminded that the accused pleaded guilty of banditry, hostage-taking, illegal possession of arms, and partly of terrorism on September 10th last year. The accused replied that had not plead guilty.
“I could not understand what they were saying to me, I did not even know what “partly” means,” said he.
Some of his statements sound like food for thought. In particular, he said that a vehicle with terrorists would not have pulled up to the school “without getting an approval and escort.” According to him, his team comprised 4 Chechens. When he was at a terrorist base prior to the school siege, he overheard a talk between the chieftain of terrorists who went by the nickname “Colonel” and his assistant. The were discussing plans for new attacks that were to be launched in Grozny, Nazran, and Vladikavkaz in November 2004. Mr. Kulayev said that the terrorists had had a vehicle loaded with explosives at standby. They were planning to set it off either in Vladikavkaz or Nazran.
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