Murder document accuses Chechen president

VIENNA, April 29 (UPI) -- A leaked report by Austria's secret service accuses Chechnya's president of masterminding the botched abduction and killing of a refugee in Vienna last year.

The document from the Office for Constitutional Protection and the Fight against Terrorism was published by Viennese magazine Falter. It indicates that authorities suspect Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov of planning to kidnap Umar Israilov.


Israilov was shot dead Jan. 13, 2009, outside a grocery store on a Vienna street after a long chase on foot.

Israilov, 27, was a former bodyguard of the Chechen president but had been living in Vienna for four years as an officially registered refugee. He had fallen out with the president and threatened to go public with Kadyrov's alleged abuses of human rights, including seeing the president personally take part in the torture of prisoners.

Austrian police said Israilov had asked them for protection, claiming that he was being followed by agents working for Kadyrov. The report in Falter magazine also suggested that a so-called Chechen Commando Group Austria was assigned to track down Chechen asylum seekers in Austria to kidnap and kill them.


A spokesman for the Vienna state prosecution office confirmed the authenticity of the leaked report. "It is correct that the LVT assumed that Kadyrov acted in the background," Gerhard Jarosch said.

Jarosch didn't comment on the existence of a Chechen commando group operating in Austria but he said that it appeared that Israilov was killed after a kidnapping had gone wrong.

Kadyrov has denied accusations by Israilov's family and lawyers that he was involved in the killing.

His spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said the allegations were an attempt to smear Kadyrov.

"Mr. Kadyrov had nothing to do with this killing," Karimov told the BBC. "The man who was killed was completely irrelevant. He had no influence on what's going on in Chechnya. Moreover, when he said he wanted to return to Chechnya, Kadyrov made a statement saying that man was welcome in the republic."

The leaked Austrian document is another episode of accusations, confessions and retractions by people purporting to be connected in some way with Israilov and his death.

The International Herald Tribune reported in August 2008 that Austrian authorities interviewed a Chechen man, Arthur Kurmakayev, who claimed to have been sent to find Israilov, who was on a hit list. Kurmakayev said he had spoken to Israilov, asking him to withdraw accusations and complaints to the European Commission on Human Rights about Kadyrov or he and his family would be killed.


Kurmakayev retracted his statements in 2009.

Police are still looking for the person who shot Israilov but they have an accomplice who was at the scene of the killing.

Latest Headlines