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    RUSSIAN LAWYER TO MEET WITH SUSPECT IN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER MURDER

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    GENEVA, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Yekaterina Andrianova) - Vladimir Sergeyev, a Russian lawyer, received permission from the Zurich prosecutor's office to meet with Vitaly Kaloyev, a Russian citizen, who is suspected of killing a Skyguide air traffic controller, Pascal Gossner, the prosecutor, told reporters.

    Earlier, Mr. Gossner informed the press that Mr. Kaloyev partly admitted his guilt. According Mr. Gossner, Mr. Kaloyev said he wanted to talk yesterday. During the conversation, Mr. Kaloyev said that on February 24 he arrived at the house of Peter Nielsen, the air traffic controller, in Kloten. According to Mr. Kaloyev, he wanted Mr. Nielsen to apologize for the air crash above Bodensee Lake (Germany). Mr. Kaloyev said he does not remember what happened after his conversation with Mr. Nielsen.

    Marcus Hugh, Mr. Kaloyev's Swiss lawyer, said that his client's statement cannot be regarded as a partial confession, as Mr. Kaloyev simply admitted that on the day of the crime he was at Mr. Nielsen's house and that he talked with him.

    Mr. Hugh said that Mr. Kaloyev wanted to show photographs of his wife and children to the air traffic controller, but the latter pushed him away and the photographs fell on the ground.

    "My client does not remember what happened later," said Mr. Hugh. The air traffic controller, who was on duty on the night a Tu-154 airplane crashed above Bodensee Lake, was murdered in his house in Kloten on February 24, 2004.

    The air crash killed Mr. Kaloyev's family: his wife, his daughter and his son. He was arrested on February 25 in a Kloten hotel and then was put in a mental hospital.

    On July 2, 2002, a Bashkir Airlines Tu-154 collided with a Boeing-747 cargo plane over Germany. Sixty-nine people, mostly children, on the Tu-154 and the two pilots of the Boeing-747 died in the crash.

    The Skyguide air traffic controller may have been at fault in the tragedy because the accident took place in his zone of responsibility.

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