Prosecutors want life for accused in dissident murder trial

1st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Prosecutors called for life sentences Wednesday for three men on trial for complicity in the 2009 murder of a Chechen dissident in Vienna.

"I believe the just punishment is a life sentence for the three accused," prosecutor Leopold Bien told a Vienna court in his final summing up ahead of the verdict, which is expected to be delivered later on Wednesday.

The men -- Turpal Ali Yesherkayev, Suleiman Dadayev and Otto Kaltenbrunner -- are charged with complicity to murder Umar Israilov, who was gunned down in the Austrian capital in January 2009.

They are also charged with associating with criminals, and attempted delivery of an individual to a foreign power.

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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