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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 21:07 GMT
Hostages sue Moscow for millions
Tributes near the siege theatre in southern Moscow
Official compensation amounts to a fraction of the claim
Three of the 670 or so survivors of the Moscow theatre siege last month are suing the city's administration for $2.5m in damages.

Alexandra Ryabtsev, 19, and her father Alexander have taken the action along with the father of one of the hostages killed.

Compensation per hostage
On offer: $1,570
Claimed: $1 m
The three-day siege was ended on 26 October when special forces stormed the building, killing the Chechen hostage-takers inside but also taking the lives of about 129 hostages, who were poisoned to death by knock-out gas.

A lawyer for the Ryabtsevs and Pyotr Sidorenko, who lost his son Yuri, told Russian media that they were suing the Moscow City Government under a Russian federal law on compensation for victims of terrorist attacks.

The Law on Fighting Terrorism stipulates that the Russian region in which a terrorist attack occurs must pay for moral and material damage, lawyer Igor Trunov said after filing the suit with Moscow's Tverskoy district court.

The court is scheduled to hold a single hearing for all three on 3 December.

'Precedent exists'

Alexandra Ryabtsev, who was seriously injured during the siege, and her father are each suing for $1m.

Mr Sidorenko, a pensioner, is claiming $500,000 on the grounds that his family lost their breadwinner.

Hostage is tended outside the theatre
Heavily armed Chechens were able to penetrate Russia's capital city
Mr Trunov said that the city administration had the legal right to claim damages against the hostage-takers themselves but all 41 Chechens directly involved were killed in the siege.

He noted that foreign nationals involved in the siege who also sought compensation should by law make their claim to the federal Russian Government.

The Moscow administration earlier agreed to pay 50,000 roubles (about $1,570) in compensation to each former hostage and R100,000 ($3,140) to relatives of those killed.

Mr Trunov defended the size of his clients' claim on the basis of "judicial practice precedent". He said that compensation of $1m had been paid out in an earlier case in Russia but no details were reported.


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10 Nov 02 | Europe
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