The TV channel aired the interview with the leader of Chechen terrorist despite emphatic protests from Russia
US broadcasting corporation ABC aired an interview with Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev tonight. ABC News said in the announcement of the interview that it was giving the tribune to one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, the leader of Chechen rebels, Russia's prime enemy, the head of which is evaluated at ten million dollars.
Basayev, interviewed by Russian journalist Andrey Babitsky, agreed during the conversation that he was using terrorist methods in his activities, although he denied responsibility for the murder of hundreds of civilians during the hostage crisis in Beslan, RIA Novosti reports.
Basayev acknowledged that he was a “bad guy, a bandit and a terrorist.” “I am using reasonable and acceptable methods. Neither myself, nor my Mujahideens murdered the children. There were no murders,” said he.
It is noteworthy that Basayev previously released absolutely different statements in an interview with the British Channel 4. The terrorist leader told reporters of the channel of how he was planning to attack the school and promised to organize a similar terrorist act in the future.
According to ABC, it was Russian journalist Andrey Babitsky, who interviewed Shamil Basayev at the end of July in Chechnya. Babitsky was heading to Chechnya to have an interview with another Chechen terrorist, Doku Umarov. It took the journalist two weeks to wait for the terrorist to appear, but Babitsky was eventually introduced to Shamil Basayev. The reporter spent two days with Basayev. However, it is impossible to determine the date, when the interview was made: Basayev said nothing about post-Beslan events in it.
The Russian embassy in the USA protested against the airing of the interview before it was broadcast. ABC said that “Nightline” offered the Russian government a possibility to participate in this or future television programs. The offer was rejected. ABC acknowledged that the interview with Shamil Basayev would produce one of the largest scandals during the 25 years of Nightline's history.
The Russian embassy in the USA harshly condemned ABC's decision to air the interview with Shamil Basayev. “We are highly concerned about the fact that ABC News made a decision to ignore arguments of the Russian embassy against the airing of the interview with the notorious international terrorist Shamil Basayev,” a statement from the Russian embassy in the USA runs.
The document mentions that the American TV company has given a tribune to one of al-Qaeda's fanatics, who is guilty of killing innocent people during many terrorist acts that he has arranged and organized personally, including the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of children a year ago in the town of Beslan, in southern Russia.”
The embassy sent the protest to ABC and the management of Nightline program several hours before the interview. However, the interview was aired anyway. “ABC News has disregarded all standards of journalistic responsibility and basic human values,” the statement from the Russian embassy said.
The Russian embassy reminded that Shamil Basayev was ranked as 49th on the list of international terrorists of the UN Security Council. “Russia and the USA agree that there can not be any excuse found for terrorists. This standpoint was confirmed during the G8 summit, at which world leaders named the complete rejection of terrorism as their prime goal in the anti-terrorist cooperation,” the Russian diplomatic mission said.
”Giving the airtime of one of US national television corporations to a child killer does not only impede the fulfillment of this goal, but also raises serious questions about the moral position of this respectable channel,” the statement runs.
”Shamil Basayev lied when he said that he had nothing in common with children's deaths in Beslan,” Nikolai Shepel, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation said. According to the official, the terrorist leader is simply trying to improve his image.
”The hostage crisis in Beslan is one of the episodes of his criminal activities. His statement can be explained with his aspiration to improve his image,” RIA Novosti quoted Shamil Basayev as saying. “Investigators proved that the terrorist attack in Beslan had been prepared and executed under Basayev's direct coordination,” the official stressed out. According to Nikolai Shepel, assaulters were participating in the Beslan hostage crisis as suicide terrorists. They were ready to die and kill all hostages, including children. “How can one believe the words of this bandit when he says that he was not involved in the murder of hundreds of civilians?” the deputy Prosecutor General said.
The chairman of the State Council of the Chechen republic, Taus Jabrailov, said that the broadcast of Shamil Basayev's interview on ABC means that certain forces in the West and in the USA are trying to destabilize the situation on the entire territory of Russia. “The West does not draw a comparison between terrorist attacks in the USA, England and Russia,” the official said.
”If a terrorist act occurs in Russia, Western politicians find other formulations and explanations to it, claiming that the struggle against terrorists should be somehow restricted. However, if they blow up buildings or commuter trains in the West, they unanimously categorize it as a terrorist act, conducted by international terrorists,” Jabrailov pointed out.
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