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Beslan Suspect Pleads Not Guilty


Nur-Pashi Kulayev
The sole defendant in the school hostage taking in Beslan last September pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges stemming from the three-day siege that killed hundreds of people.

The trial for Nur-Pashi Kulayev began Tuesday in North Ossetia, the Russian republic where Beslan is located, with the detailing of the charges against him, including murder and terrorism.

Distraught family members held photos of the victims and wept during today's proceedings. One woman cried as she held a newspaper that had photos of scores of children killed in the raid.

Russian authorities say Mr. Kulayev is the only survivor among the more than 30 militants who seized the school in Beslan September 1 and held more than 1000 people hostage.

More than 330 people were killed in the raid that ended the siege, more than half of them children.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.