Relatives Of Beslan Victims Apply To European Court
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A boy cries among Beslan's freed hostages (epa)
June 26, 2007 -- Relatives of victims of the Beslan school siege have lodged a joint complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights.
The 89 applicants say their rights were violated both during the hostage-taking and the trials that followed.
A Russian court last year sentenced the man said to be the sole surviving hostage taker, Nurpashi Kulayev, to life in prison.
Three police officers charged with negligence for failing to prevent the September 2004 siege were released.
More than 330 people, over half of them children, were killed at Beslan.
The siege began on September 1, 2004, when a group of militants demanding an end to the war in Chechnya took more than 1,000 children and adults hostage in a school in Beslan, in the republic of North Ossetia.
Two days later, special forces started a chaotic rescue operation to end the siege.
Official investigators say Russian security forces acted to save people after the hostage-takers set off a bomb inside the school.
But survivors, victims' relatives, and experts have accused the Russian leadership of covering up for what they call a botched rescue effort by security forces.
An independent report by explosives expert Yury Savelyev alleged that Russian security forces were responsible for two explosions that triggered the storming of the school.