Whistleblower fatally shot in kidnapping ordered by Russian hack

Umar S. Israilov was an official in Chechnya’s paramilitary forces, fighting separatists on behalf of the Russian-backed government of Chechnya’s president, Ramzan A. Kadyrov. In 2006, he left Russia and sought asylum.  He filed a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights accusing Kadyrov of participating in kidnappings, torture and murder. Israilov told the New York Times that Kadyrovites had threatened him and that Kadryov had put a bounty on his head. He went into hiding. The Court dismissed his complaint when it could not contact him. Last year he asked Austrian police for protection because of the death threats, but his request was denied. On January 13, 2009, he was fatally shot in Vienna, Austria.

Austrian authorities have now determined that Kadyrov ordered Israilov’s kidnapping. The kidnapping was botched, and Israilov was shot and killed after he broke free from the assailants. Austrian police are holding three Chechen exiles as suspects in the case.  They accuse a fourth suspect, Lecha Bogatirov, of firing the fatal shots.  Bogatirov fled Austria and returned to Russia after the shooting. The case is now in the hands of an Austrian prosecutor.

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