Case No. 26562/07
Decision date: 2 July 2015

On 1 September 2004, the first day of the new school term (known in Russia as the Day of Knowledge), a group of at least 32 heavily-armed Chechen Separatists targeted School No.1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. More than 1100 people (including 800 children) were taken hostage in the school gymnasium, which was wired with explosive devices. During the three-day siege the separatists killed 16 adult male hostages and, after the first day, refused hostages access to food or water. At 1pm on 3 September 2004 there was a major explosion in the gym, shortly followed by two more, the causes of which are contested between the parties. The Russian forces then stormed the school and in the ensuing fierce fighting, and devastating fire that took hold of the gymnasium, 331 people died, 186 of whom were children.

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