Chechen leader 'might' answer Vienna murder trial questions

1st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has no intention of showing up for questioning in a Vienna murder trial but "might" answer questions if they are put to him in writing, his lawyer said Wednesday.

"He sees no reason why he should go," his attorney Andrei Krasnenko was quoted as saying by Interfax. "He is not involved in this murder. He sees no reason why he should go.

"Let them send their questions to the prosecutor's office of the Chechen republic," the attorney added. "Perhaps, if he finds a reason for it, Ramzan Kadyrov might respond."

Austrian police concluded in a report earlier this year that Kadyrov had ordered the kidnapping of Umar Israilov, who was shot dead on a Vienna street in January 2009.

Three men were charged with complicity to murder, associating with criminals, and attempted delivery of an individual to a foreign power, for which they face possible life sentences.

At the start of their trial on Tuesday, the chief prosecutor said Kadyrov had ordered the kidnapping with the explicit provision that 27-year-old Israilov must be killed if he resisted.

The prosecutor however conceded there was not sufficient evidence to prove the Chechen president's involvement.

The court last month decided to question Kadyrov through a video conference call, and Russia's Memorial human rights group reported this week that the court later officially asked Kadyrov to attend the trial.

There was no immediate confirmation of this from Vienna, with Kadyrov's attorney responding to the Memorial report.

© 2010 AFP

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