Beslan survivors to appeal hostage-taker guilty verdict

[JURIST] A group of survivors of the September 2004 Beslan school siege [BBC backgrounder; MosNews report] in the Russia's North Ossetia republic announced Wednesday that they will appeal the guilty verdict [JURIST report] against Nurpashi Kulayev [Wikipedia profile], the sole surviving attacker, to the Russian Supreme Court [official website]. The survivors, part of the Voice of Beslan (Golos Beslan) [advocacy website, in Russian], told the Itar-Tass news agency that the verdict should be cancelled and the investigation resumed because "the court did not take into account all testimonies of the witnesses and did not determine the actual cause of the death of the majority of hostages."

The Voice of Beslan has previously complained that the government's role in the siege has not been properly investigated. Three Russian police officers have been indicted for criminal negligence [MosNews report] for failing to increase security during the beginning stages of the siege, and the government has been criticized for using heavy artillery before all hostages were rescued, and for failing to provide adequate medical support in the incident. Other victims are against the appeal, saying that the investigation must proceed independent of the Kulayev case.

Kulayev was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report] last week for his role in the attacks, though prosecutors requested the death penalty [JURIST report], asking for a special reinstatement of capital punishment due to the extreme nature of the Beslan siege. Kulayev's lawyers have also announced their intention to appeal the verdict, saying their client is innocent of all charges and that no evidence was presented that implicates Kulayev. 317 hostages, including 186 children, were killed during the attack, and another 728 hostages were injured. Itar-Tass has more.



 

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