Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Anniversary of Beslan massacre

Delivered in Plenary - 5th September 2005

Mr President

Last week marked the first anniversary of the Beslan massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 331 people, of which 186 were children. Astonishingly, the self-confessed perpetrator of this crime, Shamil Basayev, was appointed deputy prime minister of the so-called Chechen government-in-exile on 25 August. This man is a wanted war criminal and has close ties to Islamist terrorist groups like Al Qa’ida. The so-called foreign minister, a Mr Osman Ferzaouli, who resides in Denmark as a political refugee, says this will result in Basayev being more responsible in future.

The culture minister, Akhmed Zakayev, resides in my city, London, also as a refugee, and in the past has denied any links with Mr Basayev. Surely Russia will accuse the European Union of double standards when we rightly demand that they punish those guilty of atrocities in Chechnya whilst we in the EU are giving harbour to these individuals who support terrorist action. The governments of Denmark and the United Kingdom should revoke the asylum status of Mr Ferzaouli and Mr Zakayev.