Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 125

The closed trial opened yesterday in Stavropol of Fatima Taimaskhanova and Aiset Dadasheva, accused of planting a bomb in a railroad station in Pyatigorsk last year. The proceedings were immediately adjourned to allow the accused to acquaint themselves with the materials of the investigation, which Dadasheva has asked to be translated into Chechen. (RTR, June 29)

Soon after the bombing, in which two people were killed and fifty others wounded, Taimaskhanova and Dadasheva, residents of Chechnya, were arrested near the Pyatigorsk railroad station at the end of April 1997. They confessed to the crime. Later, Salman Raduev claimed responsibility for the act, saying the two women were innocent.

The trial is to be conducted in strict secrecy. Officials say the aim is to protect the judges from possible pressure by the accomplices of the accused. The secrecy has infuriated the Chechen authorities, who accuse the Russian authorities of isolating the defendants from the press and their relatives in order to conceal the truth. Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov says the trial reminds him of Stalin’s show-trials of 1937. “You mustn’t base your case on the confessions of the accused,” Udugov asserted. “Confessions can be obtained by various means.” (Kommersant-daily, June 26)