Austria court issues life term in Chechen murder trial

1st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Vienna court handed down a life sentence Wednesday to one of three men accused of complicity in the murder of a Chechen dissident in the Austrian capital in 2009.

The two others were sentenced to 16 years and 19 years in prison respectively for involvement in the murder of 27-year-old Umar Israilov, who was gunned down on a Vienna street on January 13, 2009.

Otto Kaltenbrunner, who was given the life sentence, and Suleiman Dadayev, who was sentenced for 19 years and two months, were both found guilty of complicity to murder, attempted delivery of an individual to a foreign power and associating with criminals.

Turpal Ali Yesherkayev, sentenced to 16 years, was found guilty of only the first two charges.

The man believed to have actually pulled the trigger, Lecha Bogatirov, is still on the run.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is suspected of having ordered the crime, but Moscow has refused to answer a request from the court for help in interviewing Kadyrov.

An Austrian police report last year concluded that Kadyrov had ordered the kidnapping of Israilov, who was then shot dead on a Vienna street in January 2009 as he tried to flee.

Prosecutors, too, believe that Kadyrov ordered 27-year-old Israilov to be kidnapped with the explicit instruction that he be killed if he resisted.

Nevertheless, at the start of the trial in November, the prosecutors conceded there was insufficient evidence to prove the Chechen president's involvement.

© 2011 AFP

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