“The problem was not in Gaza”: what the outcome of the investigation of the “Nord-OST”

Police officers at the auditorium of the Palace of culture (DK) of factory “the Moscow bearing”, in which 23 Oct 2002 occurred the capture by terrorists of hostages

The supervision of the Council of Europe

From 20 to 22 September there will be a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which will check the performance of the Russian party to the decisions of the Strasbourg court on the complaint of the victims in the terrorist attack on Dubrovka in October 2002. At the end of June the Committee of Ministers has included this issue in the agenda of the September meeting, the official report on the website of the Council of Europe.

Four times a year, the Committee of Ministers is going to see the fulfilment of decisions of the Strasbourg court, explained RBC, the lawyer of the human rights centre “memorial” Kirill Koroteev. According to him, verification is subject to the fulfillment of all the decisions of the European court of human rights (ECHR), but because of the large number of cases control is slow.

The real instrument of influence on States in respect of which handed down the decision, of the Council of Europe no, he said Koroteev. “It is expected that decisions of the Strasbourg must be performed voluntarily. But the Committee of Ministers may make a resolution that will Express their disappointment,” says the lawyer.

The decision on complaints of the 64 victims of the terrorist attack on Dubrovka, the Strasbourg court ruled in December 2011. The court found that the applicants had violated “the right to life (article 2 of the Convention on the protection of human rights), has awarded different compensation to Complainants (€9 thousand to €66 thousand) and demanded that the Russian authorities had a new thorough investigation of the cause of death of the hostages.

High judge stated that the preliminary investigation had not been independent and effective. According to the Strasbourg court, it would be necessary to establish how well-founded the security services during the storm used sleeping gas and what was its impact on the human body, and how qualified was the first medical assistance to the hostages.

Deputy Minister of justice of Russia Georgy Matyushkin after the announcement of the ECHR verdict promised to carefully consider and decide on petitions to the Grand chamber of the court. The lawyer of victims Igor Trunov filed a complaint to the Investigative Committee, asked to reopen the investigation in order to check the actions of officials during and after the assault, but was refused. The authorities relied on the old exemption ruling which was passed on a similar complaint filed in 2002 Boris Nemtsov. Then the investigation indicated that the actions of officials, particularly employees of medical institutions, have been checked for criminal proceedings was not warranted.

The terrorist attack on Dubrovka took place in late October 2002. The evening of October 23 to 40 terrorists took a full house of theatre when it was the musical “Nord-OST”. In hostages there were 912 persons. More than 100 people have been freed as a result of negotiations, some of them managed to escape. Five people, including three who came to negotiate, the invaders shot. On the night of October 26, the assault began, during which intelligence agencies used gas.

The latest episodes of “cases “Nord-OST”

Member of the coordinating Council of the “Nord-OST” Dmitry Milovidov and the lawyer Trunov concluded that the authorities have not conducted a thorough investigation of the actions of the staff to release and also work physicians who provided first aid to the injured.

Now a criminal investigation into the attack is ongoing on formal grounds — in search remains one of the accomplices of the terrorists Gerihan Dudayev.

The investigation of the case against another alleged accomplice — Hassan Zakayev, was finished in July 2015, and in the near future, the case should enter the Moscow district military court. Now the Prosecutor’s office sends the agenda to start the process to the families of all the victims.

Zakayev, a native of the Chechen city of Urus-Martan, an unemployed father of two minors, accused of a series of serious crimes: the participation in a criminal Association, murders and attempted murders, complicity to terrorism and capture of hostages, and illegal arms trafficking. According to investigators, he along with are wanted by Girijana Dudayev in several phases brought from Chechnya to Moscow weapons, suicide vests, and explosive devices (WU-cylinders), which are then used for mining the auditorium. Also, the prosecution insists that Zakayev bought the car “Tavriya”, which the terrorists blew up on October 19 near the restaurant “McDonald’s” in the street Pokryshkina, and the year before, booby-trapped two cars.

Zakayev was arrested in August 2014 in the Crimea the border guards took him off the train on the way to Moscow. He faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment. Earlier the Moscow city court sentenced six accomplices of terrorists to various terms of punishment: from 8.5 to 22 years in prison.

In fact this trial may be the last chance for the victims to raise the issue of who is to blame for the death of 125 people killed during and after the liberation theatre.

Stress or poisoning?

The investigation denies that the cause of death of the hostages was the gas that the security services used in the Dubrovka theater on the night of October 26 before the storm. According to investigators, the death brought on by the totality of “adverse factors”.

In the indictment on the case of Akhmed Zakayev (RBC), the investigators refer to the final conclusions of sudmedekspertizy made in the months after the tragedy: “the Multifactorial nature of the causes of death excludes a direct causal link only between the effects on the body of victims of gaseous chemical substances and their death.”

Next quoted the opinion of medical experts that although death came from acute respiratory and heart failure, but in addition to gas the role played by stress, lack of food, water and adequate sleep, low oxygen contents in the air. The investigator (on the basis of a medical opinion) exclude the version that the hostages could have died from mechanical asphyxia (aspiration of vomit).

The results of examinations in 2003 were presented to the relatives of the victims. Several of them were subsequently published on the website of the public organization “Nord-OST”.

“The findings of these examinations are contrary to the medical certificate, which is in the case,” says Milovidov.

The materials of the main case of the investigation of the attack contains the primary opinions of doctors cards of calls to ambulance crews who picked up the hostages from the theater, and the results of the forensic-histological examinations of the victims, held in the first days after the storm (the documents are at the disposal of RBC). Them as causes of death (with the exception of five people shot by terrorists is “poisoning with unknown substance”.

The relatives of the victims have repeatedly stated to journalists, confident that the cause of death was the gas.

The gas is not put to sleep the terrorists

“In connection with the case of real threat of life and health of a large number of people taken hostage… it was decided to conduct the operation,” — explains the result in the indictment of the need for the assault. According to investigators, the terrorists promised to start shooting if their demands — the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya will not be performed.

From the transcripts of telephone conversations of terrorists (RBC) that are contained in the main case, on the contrary, it follows that on the morning of October 26, the invaders were waiting for the arrival of General Viktor Kazantsev, a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the President.

The former hostages say that the gas was fired about half past five in the morning on 26 October, says Trunov. This is confirmed by transcripts of telephone conversations of terrorists — at 5:35 a.m. a man named Anton tries to get to the theatre one of the leaders of the terrorists, Ruslan Elmurzaev (Abubakar), the recording has been heard gunshots and screams, the connection is dropped. The next call at 5:38 meets a different terrorist. “In the hall smells very strongly to me. Gas attack they did to us! About that we also are not fools.” — he reports. Last conversation at 5:40 am, terrorists even answer the phone.

Right after in the room with the hostages was put gas, Movsar Barayev, who, according to investigators, was a leader of the terrorists ordered to shoot at the Windows, it follows from the testimony that in its decision refers to the ECHR. “When gas has gone, the women bombers just lay on the floor next to the hostages and trying not to blow the hall,” cited the testimony of witnesses.

Only seven o’clock in the morning the storming of the theater was completed. This is confirmed by video recording made by the Moscow service of rescue who have victims, says Milovidov. The video was recorded as 6:48 a.m. on the second floor of the building there is a flash, and cotton.

“The terrorists were able to blow up the theatre after the gas was started up — sums up the lawyer Trunov. They were on the perimeter of the entire room and were killed in different places, not only in the hall. Gas is not sedated and the audience: some of the victims came out of the theater on their feet.”

But the investigation insists: “as a result of correct decision by the competent authorities and competent actions of security personnel during the liberation of the criminal activities of the terrorists were stopped and prevented much greater harm, which could occur when detonation of explosive devices that could cause massive loss of life and undermining of the authority of Russia in the international arena.

How to organize the rescue

“We have conducted an independent investigation with the participation of the doctors from those hospitals, which received former hostages. They have analyzed the situation and came to the conclusion that the main problem was not the gas”, — says Irina Khakamada, a former Deputy speaker of the state Duma and co-Chairman of the party “Union of right forces. During the tragedy she, along with Iosif Kobzon went into the theater to negotiate with terrorists.

According to Khakamada, in this study, doctors concluded that the cause of death was poorly rendered medical assistance to the victims. “Ten minutes after the attack aircraft to the theater was to include the division of military doctors and provide on-site assistance: someone that is for the heart to work hard, someone put correctly. But this was not done, people pulled themselves soldiers and shipped nawalka in buses,” says Khakamada. “Staff were afraid of leaking information about the assault, everything was kept a closely guarded secret. The main thing was to defeat the terrorists, and the people — so, they sacrificed,” says the politician.

The ambulance had no antidotes, no coordination — how to revive the victims and which they take, follows from the report of the organization “Nord-OST”. The ambulance paramedics gave the drug naloxone, which is used in cases of poisoning by narcotic analgesics, and told the doctors, but even these capsules is not enough for all the hostages.

“The bodies were put on top of each other, and people just gasped for breath, people with body temperature as the living, was sent to the morgue, one body was discovered in the stairwell of the house on Leninsky Prospekt. How it got there?” — Trunov is perplexed.

Director of tsemp Kostomarov in the testimony, the city hospital No. 13 arrived about 47-48 machines that delivered 356. A few dozen of them were already dead, so they were not carried out resuscitation. According to the medical documents that are in the organization “Nord-OST”, 102 people have died before he admitted to doctors.

Action secret gas

Until now, the intelligence agencies have not revealed what the gas was applied during the release of the hostages from the Dubrovka theater. From the official answer of management of FSB across Moscow the head of “For human rights” Lev Ponomarev (RBC) that intelligence agencies have used “secretatory based on derivatives of fentanyl”. Such drugs, explained in a letter, used in the medical practice during surgery and have anesthetic effect.

About the same almost immediately after the tragedy, 30 October, said Minister of health Yury Shevchenko. “To neutralize the terrorists was used in the composition of derivatives of fentanyl. “[Gas] refers to medicines and cannot cause a lethal outcome”, — cited the words of the Minister the portal Newsru.com.

Derivatives of fentanyl have actually been used in medicine as anesthetic means indicates a microbiologist and Professor at the University of California, Davis mark Willis in the conclusion, which he did by request of one of the victims (it is cited in the decision of the ECHR). “You know how small the difference between a dose sufficient for euthanasia, and lethal dose. Death usually occurs due to respiratory failure. Since all the known derivatives of fentanyl have similar and very narrow boundaries of safe use, it could be expected that people can die from respiratory failure,” says Willis.

Many survivors of the tragedy started to have problems with health. It tells Milovidov, at least 40 former hostages had developed chronic disease, problems with memory, was discovered disease of the heart and nervous systems. A few people have a disability.

No one wants to take responsibility for what happened, complains Milovidov. From the state the relatives of the victims received assistance in 114 thousand rubles, and another for 225 thousand RUB victims, including former hostage, has paid various organization.

Who should be responsible

Immediately after the tragedy, the state had to provide the victims with free medical care and pay decent compensation, specifies Khakamada. According to lawyer Trunov, the authorities also had to conduct a thorough investigation of actions of officials of the health workers and staff for the release.

“It’s still not too late to do now: set up, act certain persons,” says Trunov. According to Milovidova, responsible for the deaths of the hostages should be borne by those who made the decision about the assault with the use of gas, including the country’s top leadership and heads of staff. “The responsibility needs to attract [then head of the FSB and now Secretary of the security Council] army General Nikolai Patrushev, Deputy Director of the FSB Vladimir Pronichev and Director of the Center of special purpose FSB Yevgeny Tikhonov, who commanded the special operation,” — lists Milovidov, who lost on Dubrovka his underage daughter.

According to the organization “Nord-OST”, Pronichev and Tikhonov are closed decrees were awarded the title of hero of Russia for the successful operation to free the hostages.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, who at the time was assistant to the President and actively comment on what is happening, the doctor Leonid Roshal, which took part in negotiations with terrorists, and state Duma Deputy Alexander Khinshtein, who at the time was writing about the attack as journalist, MC, refused to talk with RBC on the topic of the terrorist attack on Dubrovka.