[JURIST] Three Russian police officers pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal negligence [JURIST report] in connection with the Beslan school hostage crisis [BBC report; timeline] on Thursday as their trial opened in southern Russia. Prosecutors say the police failed to raise security levels despite warnings about the possibility of attacks in the region. Chechen terrorists killed over 330 people in 2004, many of them children, after taking over the school and demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.
If convicted, the police officers face up to 7 years in prison. Proceedings have been adjourned until March 20. BBC News has more. MosNews has local coverage.