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European Court Finds Russia Botched Theater-Siege Rescue

A woman places a photo at a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow on the event's ninth anniversary on October 26.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia botched the rescue of hostages during the 2002 Moscow theater siege by Chechen rebels.

The Strasbourg-based court found that Russia was right to end the standoff by force, using gas and weapons against the hostage takers, but it said too little care was taken to evacuate and treat the hostages.

It ordered Russia to pay the 64 applicants, a group of survivors of the siege and victims' relatives, a total of $1.64 million plus expenses.

The standoff started when more than 40 Chechen separatist fighters stormed Moscow's Dubrovka theater on October 23, 2002, holding around 900 people at gunpoint and booby-trapping the site.

Some 130 civilians died in the rescue operation.

The attackers demanded that Russian troops pull out of Chechnya.

compiled from agency reports