Vienna Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism delivers final report into murder of Chechnyan in Austria

In January 2009, an asylum seeker from Chechnya was gunned down in front of a supermarket in Vienna. Austrian investigators now say that their inquiries have led them to suspect that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov may have been behind the slaying. Their findings could strain relations between Europe and Russia.

The murder of Umar Israilov, a a 27-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen origin and an applicant for asylum in Austria, committed in broad daylight, triggered a wave of outrage and attracted international attention.

More than one-and-a-half years after the murder, the Vienna Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism has reached the end of its investigation. It believes that an ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, was behind the killing. In their dossier, the investigators identify “Kadyrov, Ramzan” as one of the “instigators,” and the investigators conclude that Kadyrov knew about and accepted the killing.

The investigators, in addition to looking into the actual crime, included a complaint filed against Kadyrov by the Society for Threatened Peoples, as well as torture allegations Israilov had made against Kadyrov before the European Court of Human Rights. The victim, a former officer in Mr Kadyrov’s security services, had previously testified in Vienna and in the European Court of Human Rights that Mr Kadyrov practiced torture. His testimonies made him a “risk factor for Kadyrov,” according to the documents obtained by Der Spiegel.

Legal experts like Manfred Nowak, the director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, are calling for consequences. It is “time to issue an international arrest warrent” against Kadyrov, says Nowak. “We have enough evidence of Kadyrov’s direct involvement in serious human rights violations, including torture.” Prosecutors in Vienna, working in coordination with the Justice Ministry, are now reviewing the investigators’ report.

Russian delegates to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Wednesday 23 June voted in favour of a report that denounced the “climate of pervading fear” created by Mr Kadyrov and called his level of personal power “disgraceful in a democracy.” It added that Russia should enforce the 160-or-so outstanding ECHR judgments against it and that Europe should do more to protect refugees abroad.

Read more here.

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