Chechen trio jailed over Israilov murder

Three Chechens have been given long jail terms for their role an assassination which made headlines across the globe.The trio was found guilty of being involved in the murder of Umar Israilov, a former bodyguard of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov who turned against his employer, in Vienna-Floridsdorf in January 2009.Israilov died after being gunned down in the street after leaving a shop. Judges said in court in Vienna yesterday (Weds) investigations have shown that the attackers only wanted to wound and abduct him before Israilov defended himself and tried to flee.It emerged after the murder had been carried out that the 27-year-old victim was seeking political asylum and police protection in Austria. He informed the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, about having witnessed Kadyrov participating in torturing sessions. Israilov reportedly also experienced how the Chechen leader ordered executions.State prosecutors called for life sentences for the trio. Otto Kaltenbrunner, 42 – who is accused of masterminding the murder – was sentenced to life in jail. Suleyman Dadaev, 37, was given a 19-year prison term, while Turpal Yeshurkaev, 32, got 16 years behind bars. Dadaev is suspected of spying on Israilov for weeks before the attack. Yeshurkaev fired the fatal shots, according to prosecutors. The verdict is not yet legally binding.Prosecutors branded the crime a “politically motivated murder.” Russian authorities ignored their appeal for advice and assistance in arresting other alleged backers and organisers of the killing, including Kadyrov and a high-ranking Chechen army officer.The defendants’ lawyers described their clients as “amateurs” for making phone calls at the crime site before the murder happened. “Professional hitmen don’t act that way,” one legal representative said in court.The case caused controversy all over the world due to Kadyrov’s strong ties with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The president of Chechnya rubbished accusations linking him with the crime. Austrian prosecutors failed with their attempt to call Kadyrov to the witness stand or question him via video conference in the trial against Kaltenbrunner, Dadaev and Yeshurkaev which started last year.