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Trial of accomplice in 2002 Moscow theater siege due to begin on February 19 — lawyer

January 25, 18:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Investigators say Khasan Zakayev belonged to a terrorist group led by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev
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© ITAR-TASS/Konstantin Kizhel

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. The Moscow district military court will on February 19 begin the trial of Khasan Zakayev, accused of being an accomplice in the hostage seizure at a Moscow theater in 2002 in which 130 people were killed, a lawyer representing the interests of the victims told Tass on Monday.

"The criminal case has been again taken to the military court after being reviewed. Preliminary hearings are fixed for February 19," Igor Trunov said.

On December 17, 2015, the Moscow district military court returned to the prosecutors materials of the criminal case of Khasan Zakayev.

Materials were returned "due to improper notification of the affected persons of investigation completion," lawyer Igor Trunov said then. Besides, the court extended Zakayev’s arrest until March 18, he added.

Zakayev is accused of being part of a criminal group, of preparations for a terror attack, being accessory in hostage taking, an attempt on the life of two and more persons as well as illegal trafficking of weapons and intentional destruction of others’ property.

Investigators say Zakayev belonged to a terrorist group led by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, killed in neighbouring Ingushetia in 2004 and reckoned the principal figure behind the theatre storming.

He was for a long time on the international wanted list, and was detained in 2014 while trying to cross from Ukraine to Crimea with a fake passport

Six participants in the assault were earlier sentenced to long prison terms, and 40 terrorists were killed in the operation to release hostages. Only one accomplice - Gerikhan Dudayev - is still on the international wanted list.

On 23 October 2002, 40 Chechen militants took more than 900 hostages inside Moscow's Dubrovka theatre, showing the popular musical Nord-Ost.

After three days of negotiations, Russian security services pumped sleeping gas into the hall, stormed it and killed all the attackers. But some 130 hostages died - most not at the hands of the terrorists but apparently suffering effects of the gas.

The probe into the case lasted for more than four years but was suspended in 2007. Prosecutors said it had not proved possible to locate the accused Dudayev and Zakayev.

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