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Russian prosecutors open probe into Beslan victims group accused of 'extremism'

[JURIST] Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into a survivor organization formed after the 2004 Beslan school siege [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], according to the organization's chairwoman, quoted by AP Friday. The Voice of Beslan [advocacy website, in Russian], is accused of extremist activity [JURIST report]. Prosecutors point to a 2005 Voice of Beslan statement criticizing Russian President Vladamir Putin [official website; BBC backgrounder] as evidence of extremism. The Voice of Beslan has denied the charges, saying it was an attempt to stifle criticism of Putin. On Wednesday, the North Ossetia Supreme Court ordered the group to disband [Moscow Times report] following a dispute over its leadership.

The Voice of Beslan is one of many victims organizations that has been critical of the government's response to the militant attack on the Beslan School, which resulted in the death of 334 people, many of them children. Attackers demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya [BBC backgrounder]. AP has more.

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