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Suspect In 2002 Moscow Theater Siege Sentenced To 19 Years In Prison

Khasan Zakayev
Khasan Zakayev

A suspect in the deadly 2002 hostage-taking attack on a Moscow theater has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.

The Moscow Regional Military Court pronounced the sentence on March 21 after convicting Khasan Zakayev of assisting Chechen militants in the attack on the Dubrovka theater during a performance of the musical Nord-Ost.

Zakayev's arrest was announced in March 2015. He pleaded "partially" guilty, acknowledging that he transported guns to Moscow shortly before the assault but had no idea what they were intended to be used for.

Militants interrupted the performance on October 22, 2002, and took the audience hostage.

All the hostage-takers inside the theater were killed when Russian special forces released a toxic chemical agent and then stormed the building on October 26.

An NGO that advocates for victims and their relatives says that 174 hostages also died, most of them due to insufficient medical care they received after breathing the gas.

Many hostages suffocated after being dragged from the building and left lying unconscious on their backs outside.

Russian officials have said that 130 hostages died.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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