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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hostage Suit Goes to Court

A Moscow court held a preliminary hearing Tuesday on complaints from former hostages and victims' families seeking compensation from the city government in connection to the October hostage crisis.

Lawyer Igor Trunov said he represents eight clients -- five former hostages and three relatives -- and that more have approached him about taking part in the case. Seven of the clients are seeking $1 million each, and one is seeking $500,000. The trial in the Tverskoi district court is scheduled to begin Dec. 24.

Trunov said he has no doubts about winning. "There is only one question: how much money they will get," he said after the hearing.

The Oct. 23-26 theater siege by Chechen rebels ended with about 130 hostages dead. The Moscow government has criticized the lawsuit, saying federal authorities are responsible for the Chechen conflict and its consequences. Government officials have said they will pay about $3,150 to the victims' families and half that amount to former hostages who survived.

Meanwhile, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs said it has raised 30 million rubles ($950,000) for former hostages and victims' families. The group will give 50,000 rubles to each of the victims' families and 25,000 rubles to each surviving hostage, Interfax reported.