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Independent: Victims who fled Beslan siege lose compensation

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  • Norbert Strade
    The Independent Victims who fled Beslan siege lose compensation By Andrew Osborn in Moscow 30 April 2005 The Russian authorities have been accused of being
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1 6:08 AM
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      The Independent

      Victims who fled Beslan siege lose compensation

      By Andrew Osborn in Moscow

      30 April 2005

      The Russian authorities have been accused of being heartless and
      insensitive after ordering 30 teenagers who survived last September's
      school siege in Beslan to return the financial compensation they were paid.

      Civil servants in the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia decided
      the pupils did not deserve compensation because they had escaped in the
      first few minutes of the siege. That meant that they did not fall into
      the three eligible categories of victims: hostages, seriously wounded
      and slightly wounded. Although it was argued that the children had
      suffered psychologically and had often lost close friends or siblings,
      the government has fended off a legal challenge from their parents.

      As a result, the teenagers must each hand back the 40,000 rubles (£800)
      they were awarded. The scandal has split Beslan, which lost 330 people
      in the siege, 180 of them children, and has again seen the local
      authorities become the target of residents' anger.

      The teenagers' parents have appealed to Vladimir Lukin, Russia's Human
      Rights Ombudsman, and have asked the parliamentary commission
      investigating the tragedy to assist. "At first I didn't pay any
      attention to the stories [about compensation being returned]," Nadejda
      Tsomartova, an elderly Beslan resident, told Gazeta.Ru.

      "But then I got really offended. One of my grandsons died in the siege
      and the other managed to get away. And now they [the authorities] were
      first of all giving something to us and then taking it back. It's just
      incredible. These children also suffered traumatically."

      Arkady Baskayev, an MP, told Ekho Moskvy radio that the authorities had
      made a serious blunder. "In my opinion nobody has the right to take
      anything away from them [the children]."

      http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=634352
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