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Preliminary court hearings in Nevsky Express blast case to begin

August 29, 2011, 11:54 UTC+3

The government confirmed that the accident was caused by terrorists, making this attack Russia’s deadliest outside the North Caucasus region since the 2004 Russian aircraft...

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TVER, August 29 (Itar-Tass) — The Tver Regional Court on Monday begins a preliminary hearing in the case of the Nevsky Express speed train explosion, the court's press service reported.

“The hearing will be conducted by a panel of three judges of the Tver Regional Court in camera,” the press-service stressed.

Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin has approved the indictment in the criminal case against 10 natives of the Republic of Ingushetia who are charged with committing crimes under various articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Speed train No. 166 Moscow – St. Petersburg on November 27, 2009 crashed as a result of a terrorist act at the Aleshinka-Uglovka section of the railway on the border of the Novgorod and Tver regions. As many as 27 people were killed in the explosion (another one died later) and more than 130 people were injured. The Russian Railways company (RZD) suffered material damage of 187 million roubles. The investigation established that the train’s derailment was caused by an explosion of a bomb that was planted under the tracks.

The blast caused derailment near the town of Bologoye, Tver region (approximately 200 miles or 320 kilometres from Moscow), on the Moscow-St. Petersburg Railway. The derailment occurred at 21:34 local time (18:34 UTC). Russian officials had stated that 39 people were killed and 95 injured but later retracted the death toll, with 27 deaths reported as of December 2. A second bomb exploded at the scene of the investigation the following day, injuring one. It was reported to have been triggered by a remote mobile phone.

The first respondents were residents of Lykoshino, a nearby village. A field hospital was set up to treat the wounded and at least 50 were hospitalised in St. Petersburg. It is believed that, at the time of the derailment, the Nevsky Express was carrying 661 passengers in 13 carriages, of which the last four were thought to have been affected by the incident. Although initial reports blamed an electrical fault for the derailment, investigation showed that the derailment may have been caused by an act of terrorism; a crater was found in the ground near the crash site.

The government confirmed that the accident was caused by terrorists, making this attack Russia’s deadliest outside the North Caucasus region since the 2004 Russian aircraft bombings.

Responsibility for the attack had first been claimed by far-right nationalists, then by the “Caucasian Mujahadeen” on orders from Doku Umarov, who is considered to be “the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.” The attack was claimed to have been part of a series of attacks planned to Russian infrastructure. Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways, noted similarities between this attack and the 2007 Nevsky Express bombing, though responsibility for the 2009 attack is yet to be confirmed. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov expressed doubts about Umarov’s direct involvement, saying it may have been an attempt for him to “raise his standing in the eyes of his foreign backers.”

Evidence linked to the train explosion was found during an investigation that took place following a raid on suspected rebels on March 2-3, 2010, in which close associate of Umarov, Said Buryatsky, along with 7 other suspects were killed. Additionally, according to head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov, bomb material “identical” to what was used in the 2007 train attack had also been uncovered during the raid.


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