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Trial Begins In Austria For Case Of Murdered Chechen


Defendants accused of murdering Chechen Umar Israilov sit in the dock before the start of the trial in Vienna.

Defendants accused of murdering Chechen Umar Israilov sit in the dock before the start of the trial in Vienna.

Three men went on trial in Austria today in connection with the murder of Umar Israilov, a former bodyguard turned critic of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Israilov, 27, who had defected and sought refuge in Austria, was killed in Vienna in January 2009 in what prosecutors said was an attempted kidnapping gone wrong.

Austrian investigators allege Kadyrov himself had given the order for the kidnapping, but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to charge him. The Chechen president denies any involvement.

The three defendants in court today, all Russian citizens, are charged with complicity in the murder. If found guilty, they face possible sentences of between 10 to 20 years.

The man believed to have actually fired the shots that killed Israilov is still at large.

Israilov had said he was tortured by Kadyrov and had served as a key witness in court proceedings against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights.

compiled from agency reports
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