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Beslan Children Testify

Published: August 26, 2005 (Issue # 1099)


VLADIKAVKAZ — A 10-year-old boy described how a female terrorist threatened to kill children hiding cell phones, and a teenage boy recalled through tears how he urinated into a bottle so younger children could drink.

The children testified Thursday at the trial of Nurpasha Kulayev, the only surviving suspect who participated in the seizure of the Beslan school on Sept. 1-3 last year. At least 331 hostages, half of them children, were killed.

Kulayev went on trial in May, and the first children took the stand Tuesday. Court was in recess Wednesday.

Tearful Beslan parents and neighbors packed the courtroom Thursday, listening to the children’s simple but sincere accounts of the most vicious terrorist attack in Russia’s modern history.

“One of the female terrorists searched us for mobile phones. She told us that if she found a phone on someone, that person would be killed and three more people near him or her would be killed too,” Azamat Tebiyev, 10, wearing a green-and-white striped shirt, said as he calmly recounted the ordeal.

Malik Kalchakeyev, 14, speaking slowly and with great detail, then told of how the schoolchildren and their parents were herded into the school’s gym, how the attackers stopped providing water and how they taunted the exhausted hostages, often forcing them to stand and sit quickly in the hot, crowded gym.

“On the second day, we were all very thirsty. Women told us, the boys, to pee into plastic bottles so that the children could then drink our pee,” the boy said, bursting into tears. “I peed into a bottle, and small children — even babies — drank it.”

“Listen, Kulayev, listen,” Judge Tamerlan Aguzarov angrily ordered the defendant, who showed no emotion as he sat in a steel cage with bulletproof glass behind the testifying children.

As the boy tried to stop sobbing, the courtroom spectators, mostly women wearing black clothes and black headscarves, swore at Kulayev. “Give this terrorist to us! We will tear the bastard apart!” the women shouted.

Journalists, who were not allowed in the courtroom, watched Thursday’s proceeding via closed-circuit television in another room of the courthouse.

After several minutes, the boy stopped crying and recounted how he ran out of the smoldering school after two explosions occurred in the gym. As he spoke, he kept his eyes fixed on Kulayev.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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