07 July 2005, 17:32

Beslan victims talk to Kulayev

The trial of Nurpashi Kulayev who took part in the seizure of school no 1 in Beslan continues in the Supreme Court of North Ossetia. Interrogation is under way of those aggrieved. Six of them came to the trial, although eight had been summoned. They say they do not believe the government and justice and see the trial as the only chance to ask questions to the defendant.

Marina Khubayev, a victim, says she saw Kulayev shoot in the air in the school. Nurpashi Kulayev disagreed: "I didn't even shoot in the air. Less so I can kill a child. Children are angels. Allah forgives them all sins. I am Muslim and I won't lift my hand against children and women."

"For eight months already I do not know any other road than from home to the cemetery," said Zarina Muzayev in conclusion, crying. "I am constantly blaming my husband for not saving our girl. Don't think I'll be sitting on my hands, I will revenge for our children."

Below is a dialogue between Zarina Muzayev and Nurpashi Kulayev.

Zarina Muzayev: Why do you think Allah saved your life?

Nurpashi Kulayev: I didn't want to die there, that's why I escaped.

Z.M.: Are you glad you did?

N.K.: Now I am not. I'd better die.

Z.M.: Maybe, Allay gave you life, so you tell people the truth?

N.K.: I am telling everything I know. I'll answer any of your questions.

Z.M.: I understand you, you haven't done anything wrong. Trust me, our government will deceive you like it has deceived us. Tell me everything the way you'd tell a friend. Remember my face, my surname is Muzayev, and I swear you I will send all the money I have received to you children's account. I swear, just tell the truth.

N.K.: I won't lie, everything I know you will know. I cannot lie before Allah.

Z.M.: You said once that everyone who is really to blame is now watching all this on TV. Whom did you mean?

N.K.: Everyone knows whom I was talking about. They include the chief one, Basayev.

Z.M.: Did your brother warn you, tell you anything when he was taking you?

N.K.: He said I would be at home at twelve. That more terrorist acts are planned in Malgobek (a district in Ingushetia - ed.) and Nazran. But there was Basayev, he wouldn't let us go. My brother said he would go there, and I would go home. But they didn't let me go. The colonel said himself that none of us was to stay alive. They would kill me as well, so that I wouldn't say what I saw.

Z.M.: How many were you?

N.K.: We were 32. The colonel counted us in the forest.

Z.M.: What do you know about the headmaster, how did she behave?

N.K.: The headmaster often went upstairs to the first floor, she once took children there. I was told those were children of some important person. I was interested myself what there was, in the first floor, but they didn't let me there.

Vitalii Dzampayev lost his wife in the school. He has no job because he has to care of his two children, 7 and 8 years old. In the trial he said he had told about the actual number of hostages back on the first day of the school seizure. "I took Dzantiyev (former internal affairs minister in North Ossetia - ed.) by the hand and told him there were at least 850 people in the school. He pushed me away and said they'd handle it themselves. They knew the actual number of hostages from the very beginning, they just didn't want publicity."

"On the second day of the seizure we stood with huge placards which said the hostages were more than a thousand," victim Ella Kesayev says. "We approached local journalists and told them to film, so the entire world would know. But they replied they had instructions not to film."

However, victims have questions to ask not only to Kulayev. Ella Kesayev continues: "When I saw tanks bombard the school after the explosion, I was shocked. The tanks just kept up shooting, they were shooting our children. In the mortuary, we saw burnt, whole corpses, they were not torn by the explosion. I want to know who gave the order for tanks to fire. Who gave the order to burn our children with "bumblebees"? Who gave Kulayev and his terrorist friends an opportunity to come to the school? Who removed the checkpoints? Who gave instructions to the authorities to tell lies? What did Dzasokhov (former president of North Ossetia - ed.) do as the chief of the headquarters during the school seizure? What did Andreyev, Nurgaliyev do? Where were the firemen? The children burnt down, and they were awarded after that.

Marina Khubayev who stayed three days in the school together with four children also spoke about the use of heavy artillery: "Tanks did fire, I know that for sure. I am from South Ossetia, I've seen war and I understand weapons. But I have never seen this kind of war..."

Author: Regina Revazova, CK correspondent;

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