Author`s name Ольга Савка

Moscow Court Convicts Chechen Terrorist

The terrorist has been convicted of assisting terrorists during the hostage crisis in Moscow

One of the most scandalous trials has recently ended up in Moscow. The Moscow City Court sentenced Zaurbek Talkhigov to 8 ½ years in prison. Zaurbek Talkhigov was convicted of assisting in terrorist activities and taking hostages in Moscow in 2002. Talkhigov will serve the sentence in a maximum-security prison. The sentence runs that the evidence - the audio tape with telephone conversations in the Chechen language between Zaurbek Talkhigov and terrorists - must be destroyed after the sentence comes into effect. The verdict may be appealed at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation within ten days.

Talkhigov was found guilty of informing terrorists during the hostage crisis in Moscow, when about 800 people had been taken hostages in the Moscow music theatre. He contacted terrorists over a phone and informed them of the situation outside the theatre - what military men were doing, where snipers and defense technology units were. Talkhigov, the father of two children, is 25 years of age, he comes from the town of Shali, the Chechen republic. 

The state prosecutor originally demanded Talkhibov should be convicted to ten years in prison in a maximum security prison. The defendant's lawyer Oleg Pankratov asked the court to acquit his client, claiming that he was not guilty.

Zaurbek Talkhigov was detained on October 25th, 2002. Special services managed to intercept his telephone conversation with Movsar Barayev, the leader of the terrorist gang that had seized the theatre. Reporters of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper managed to obtain a record of the phone talks between Talkhigov and Barayev's gunmen.

Talkhigov: Akhmed is that you? Listen to me, brother. There are several KamAZ trucks to the right of the entrance to the building. Are you listening to me?

Akhmed: Yes, I am.

T: There is a building next to those trucks! They are inside that building and opposite to it, on the ground.

A: So, they are to the right of the entrance?

T: Yes, they are. Are you following me? There are cars all around here. If you notice a movement, shoot on gasoline tanks, to have a smoke screen. They are near that building and in KamAZ trucks, they have snipers, about seven or eight men.

Talkhigov also talked to Movsar Barayev, the leader of the Chechen gang.

Barayev: We have no problems, we are fine here.

Talkhigov: Movsar, if I have something new to tell…Is there a phone that I could use? Give me a number.

B: OK, do not worry.

T: Brother, let me do everything that I can do for you here.

B: Thanks, we do not need anything, brother, thank you. Do you understand what I am talking about?

T: Yes, I do. I mean that something is going to change around here. Two women wanted to go out yesterday. I managed to contact Khamzat over the phone yesterday (he is probably talking about Khamzat Turpal – the terrorist, whose body was identified after the siege) to let him know that snipers were waiting for them.

B: I have just told you that we have no problems, that's all.