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Russia supreme court upholds sentence for Beslan hostage-taker

[JURIST] The Russian Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday upheld a sentence of life imprisonment for Nurpashi Kulayev, the only terrorist survivor convicted in connection with the 2004 Beslan school siege [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder]. Kulayev filed the appeal [JURIST report] in June, arguing that his conviction was "unlawful and groundless" as the prosecution failed to present evidence implicating him in the terrorism and murder charges. Itar-Tass has more.

Kulayev was found guilty of terrorism [JURIST report] in May. Some 1,300 people, most of them children, were taken hostage in a school building in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004 by militants demanding that Russian soldiers leave Chechnya. In total, 330 people were killed and 783 were wounded when the school roof collapsed in flames during a rescue effort. Officials reported in August that to protect Kulayev from retaliation by other inmates, he will serve his sentence under a different name [JURIST report].

The Supreme Court also ruled on Tuesday that General Nikolai Shepel, former deputy prosecutor in the Beslan school siege trial, violated the law during his investigation into the hostage attack. Interfax has more.

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