RealNews

U.S. Investigates Moscow Theater Siege, Seeking Qaeda Link

American law enforcement officials are investigating the deadly takeover of a Moscow theater last year by Chechen rebels to determine whether Al Qaeda was involved and whether criminal charges should be brought in the United States, officials have said. The death of an American citizen from Oklahoma City who was held hostage in the theater attack in October 2002 has allowed federal prosecutors to consider charges in the United States against Chechen organizers who they suspect may be linked to Al Qaeda, officials said. A federal grand jury here heard testimony last week from a survivor of the harrowing 57-hour episode who was engaged to the American citizen. The woman, Svetlana N. Gubareva, 46, had reported speaking repeatedly to the suspected Chechen ringleader in the theater. She was questioned not only about him, but about the powerful, untested opiate gas the Russian authorities used to end the siege. At least 129 of the nearly 800 hostages in the theater died, most due to the effects of the gas. Ms. Gubareva’s lawyer said prosecutors also asked him to identify other survivors who could testify in greater detail about the use of the gas. Full Story

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