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11.01.2008

New twist in the efforts to stifle “Voice of Beslan”

   

The Prosecutor in Ingushetia has applied to the court to declare an appeal made by the civic organization “Voice of Beslan” in November 2005 extremist.

The court hearing has been scheduled for 10.00 on 14 January 2008. 

The Prosecutor asserts that the material of the organization from 30 November 2005 “To all those who sympathize with the victims of the Beslan terrorist attack” contains “a knowingly false accusation against President V. Putin of aiding and abetting terrorism and being a guarantor for criminals”.

“Voice of Beslan” represents the interests of former hostages and relatives of the victims of the Beslan terrorist attack.

On 18 December 2007 the North Ossetia Supreme Court upheld a first instance court ruling to close down the organization in its former makeup. However, after an appeal against rulings already in force (nadzornaya zhaloba), the court suspended the order to liquidate the organization.

The civic organization has been subjected to pressure from the regional authorities for the last year over their demands regarding investigation into the terrorist attack in Beslan. As we reported at the time, on 22 November 2007, Ella Kesayeva had administrative charges instituted against her for placing a “road sign” reading “Putin’s Course”.  The sign had an arrow and was positioned so that it pointed to School No. 1 in Beslan where 331 people died in 2004.

Given that the appeal from 2005 which is now deemed by some to be extremist was originally addressed to a wide audience, it seems appropriate to provide our translation of the entire text. 

The President of the United States of America

The US Congress

The Presidents of Member-States of the European Union

The European Parliament

The editorial boards of world television companies, information agencies, newspapers and journals, covering the terrorist attack in Beslan

To all Russian journalists working in Beslan from 1 – 3 September 2004

To all those who sympathize with the victims of the Beslan terrorist attack

We are writing to you as former hostages from Beslan School No.1 and relatives of children killed or maimed.  We are citizens of a country which failed to protect us in September last year. We are citizens of a country which cannot ensure our right to know how 1,128 people came to be taken hostage, and who was to blame for the death of 331 people.

A year and three months have elapsed since the attack.  We are grateful to all those who helped us and showed compassion. Yet if we had understood what a terrible road awaited us after the small town of Beslan in just one week buried more than three hundred people, we would have asked you not to donate money, not to send us medicine and other humanitarian aid.  We would have asked for nothing except help in investigating the terrorist attack.

This investigation has become the point of our life since Beslan. After Beslan we discovered what it meant to be the victim of a terrorist attack in Russia.  We learned about how victims of the apartment bombings in Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk struggle to find the truth.  We discovered the inhuman treatment at the hands of the law enforcement agencies and the authorities suffered by the survivors and relatives of those who died at “Nord Ost” and the relatives of those killed in the two planes bombed in August 2004.  We learned how they investigated the attack on Nazran two months before Beslan.

It is with horror that we are forced to recognize that at the present time terrorist acts have become the most effective political mechanism in Russia and those in power resolve their political and commercial problems using terrorist acts. We are fully justified in accusing the present regime in Russia of aiding and abetting Russian and world terrorism.

Not one terrorist act committed in Putin’s Russia has been fully investigated. Dozens of serious crimes against innocent citizens of our country have remained unpunished and anonymous.

We know nothing about who really ordered the Beslan crime. Nor about how exactly it was possible to organize and carry out a crime of such magnitude.

Why was it not averted?  Who was to blame?

We have been asking all these questions for more than a year. We have received lies in response.

We are forced to live in a country where the Prosecutor openly lies and commits crimes linked with his position, where officials give false testimony in court, and the President himself during the days of mourning deceives the mothers and fathers of killed and maimed children. The lie about 354 hostages was the President’s choice. It was easier for him to demonstrate his lack of knowledge than to punish friends in the enforcement agencies for total incompetence and corruption.

We were ourselves forced to seek evidence that the Beslan school was shot at by tanks and flamethrowers. We were forced to prove that the school was shot at when there were still hostages alive inside.  We were forced to prove ourselves that there were more terrorists and that some of them were at liberty. We were forced to prove that our military had begun the storm at the very moment when Aslan Maskhadov had agreed to come to Beslan. And our politicians refused to hold negotiations to save at least the children. They didn’t agree to use Maskhadov’s possibilities to save the hostages. Principles once again proved more important to the Russian regime than human life.

We are guilty of having chosen a President who resolves his problems with the help of tanks, flamethrowers and gas which is causing former hostages from “Nord Ost” to give birth prematurely.

Yet we are not to blame for the world’s political elite supporting our President who has become a guarantor for criminals.

Yes, the West is facing a new threat, that of terrorism.  We do not condone and call for the trial of the main Russian Federation terrorist Shamil Basaev whom they have been trying to catch for ten years. However we would like to consult with foreign security services to find out whether the Russian enforcement agencies have done all they can to destroy Basaev.  Do they want to? Is this a task they have been set?  How long would it take, say, MOSAD officers to kill Basaev? And how can Mr Patrushev have held his post exactly as long as Basaev has been bombing Russia with impunity?

Yes, the world is faced with the threat of terrorism. Yet why does America try Saddam Hussein, while Russia kills Maskhadov? Why in Spain does a President who lied commit political suicide while in Russia he goes forward for a third term? Why in our country do they kill thousands of hostages with a handful of terrorists, while Mr Berlusconi pays ransom for an opposition journalist? And the French President does everything in order to release French hostages?

Yes, terrorism is a world problem. Yet if the world follows a path of unlimited brutality, will this not be victory for terrorism? We will become like them. We will become terrorists.

Vladimir Putin thinks that this is the right path. The number of terrorist attacks in Russia is rising. These are terrorist attacks in which citizens of the Russian Federation kill other such citizens. Not one of these terrorist attacks has been uncovered.

We want to do everything to change this trend. We want a legal assessment of the actions of all those who took part in the events in Beslan. We ask for your help.

We are turning to all those who have information about the Beslan tragedy. We ask television companies in possession of their own video footage and journalists who witnessed the first explosions heard at 13.03 and 13.05 on 3 September and the ensuing operation by enforcement bodies aimed at killing the terrorists.

We ask you to provide us with this information or to come to the court to give evidence as witnesses for the victims.

We particularly turn to the President and Congress of the United States of America. We are aware that your country has photos of the school in Beslan from satellites on 1, 2 and 3 September 2004.  We would ask you to declassify this information and provide the photos to residents of Beslan to use in the court trial on terrorist charges against Nurlashi Kulaev.

We also turn to the European Union and the European Parliament members of which have publicly expressed their intention to carry out an international investigation into the Beslan terrorist attack. We can make no demands, however we would ask you to support our efforts to investigate the horrific crime which claimed the lives of our loved ones.

The civic organization “Voice of Beslan”

30 November 2005

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