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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 14:23 GMT
Beslan 'negligence' trial begins
Woman cries in school gymnasium. File photo
Many relatives of the dead say they do not trust the authorities
Three Russian police officers accused of negligence in the run-up to the Beslan school siege have gone on trial.

Prosecutors said the officers failed to boost security despite several warnings from top Russian officials about a possibility of attacks in the region.

Miroslav Aidarov, Taimuraz Murtazov and Guram Driaev deny the charge. The trial was adjourned until 20 March.

More than 330 people died, including many children, when Russian troops stormed the building in September 2004.

The three officers, who held senior positions in North Ossetia's regional police force, went on trial in Beslan's Pravoberezny district court.

'Scapegoats'

They are accused of "negligence, that led to grave consequences".

If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison.

North Ossetia's parliament commission said last November that the school had been seized because of "failings in the law enforcement bodies".

However, Russian federal prosecutors later said the authorities had made no mistakes during the crisis.

Many relatives of the victims have accused the government in Moscow of singling out local policemen as scapegoats while covering up mistakes by the federal authorities.




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