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Chechen Leader Says Basaev Will Be Tried After War

24 September 2004 -- Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov says once the war is over in Russia's breakaway republic, radical field commander Shamil Basaev will be put on trial for the massive hostage taking in Beslan.

Basaev has claimed responsibility for the seizure of a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in early September that ended in the killing of more than 330 people, roughly half of them children.

Russian authorities have blamed Basaev and Maskhadov equally for the raid and announced a $10 million bounty for information leading to their capture.

In his statement on a rebel website today, Maskhadov again denied any link to the attack. But he warned that the continuing war in Chechnya will "inevitably" lead to an increase in terrorist acts.

A Russian military spokesman, Ilya Shabalkin, said at least nine rebels were killed in fighting in Chechnya overnight.


[For more on the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, click here. For more on the Beslan tragedy and the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Russia, see RFE/RL's "Terror In Russia" page.]

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