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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Beslan Policemen Amnestied

BESLAN -- Women who lost relatives in the Beslan attack ransacked a courtroom on Tuesday as the judge granted an amnesty to three local policemen accused of failing to stop gunmen seizing the school.

The policemen are the only officials put on trial over the 2004 massacre in which 331 people -- more than half of them children -- were killed. Some survivors accuse the authorities of a coverup.

As the judge began reading out an order granting the police officers an amnesty, the women began heckling the judge and tried to approach the bench but were stopped by a guard.

A group of about 25 women then smashed courtroom windows, overturned furniture and tore down blinds and a Russian flag, a witness in the building said.

The judge withdrew to a side room and finished reading the order, without members of the public present.

"The victims' patience has run out. We think the justice system ... is forcing us to take such steps because they have no interest in uncovering the truth about the Beslan tragedy," said one of the women, Susanna Dudiyeva.