Østerriksk politi har arrestert en mistenkt i drapet på den tsjetsjenske dissidenten Umar S. Israilov, 27. Mannen er tsjetsjensk asylant og har bodd i Østerrike i flere år.
Israilov er en tidligere tsjetsjensk opprører som gikk over til Ramzan Kadyrov, som er stråmann for Putin i Tsjetsjenia. Israilov har avslørt at Kadyrov personlig torturerte fanger. Han har stevnet Kadyrov for Den internasjonale menneskrettsdomstolen og likvideringen kan være et forsøk på å hindre at han kan vitne.
Israilov hevdet han ble truet av Kadyrovs utsendinger og politiet tok truslene alvorlig.
One record, provided to The New York Times by a friend of Mr. Israilov’s, included the statement given last year to counterterrorism investigators by a Chechen who said he had been sent to Vienna by Mr. Kadyrov to bring Mr. Israilov home, «by the use of force if necessary.»
The man, Artur Kurmakayev, 41, of St. Petersburg, told investigators on June 10 that he worked for a secretive department under Mr. Kadyrov’s direction charged with repatriating Chechens in exile, and that for his assignment in Vienna he had been provided two assistants from Mr. Kadyrov’s presidential guard whom he met in Slovakia.
He added, according to the record of his interview with the federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Action against Terrorism, that «I saw a list in President Kadyrov’s residence in the town of Gudermes, which contained approximately 5,000 names of Chechens.
«All of these people either fought against Kadyrov or have otherwise attracted unfavorable attention. Three hundred of the 5,000 that appear on the list have to die.» About 50 of the names, he warned the authorities, were of Chechens living in Austria.
Mr. Kurmakayev told investigators that he also wanted to seek asylum in Austria, and that if he did not «fulfill my assignment properly» then «my family could die.» He later returned to Russia voluntarily, a lawyer who had represented Mr. Israilov said. His whereabouts are unknown.
A separate police record, of a statement by Mr. Israilov, described several meetings in mid-2008 at which Mr. Kurmakayev, using the name Arbi, had urged him to withdraw the case.
At one meeting after he had refused, Mr. Israilov told investigators, Mr. Kurmakayev informed him that «two people in Slovakia were waiting for me and were set on killing me.»
«He told me I should think twice about it.»
Drapet har skremt tsjetsjenere i eksil over hele verden, sier Aage Borchgrevink til Aftenposten.