Vienna – Austrian police knew in 2008 that a Chechen refugee killed last week in Vienna had received politically motivated threats, the Interior Ministry confirmed Tuesday, while defending its decision not to protect the man.
Umar Israilov, 27, was shot dead in broad daylight on January 13. According to a statement by his father, the younger Israilov had been tortured by security forces of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and had brought his case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In June 2008, a man approached police in Vienna, claiming to be an agent who had been sent to bring back Israilov to his native Chechnya, ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told Austrian news agency APA.
The man appeared to have qualms about his mission but indicated that Israilov had to die if the repatriation failed. The alleged agent has been deported from Austria.
However, the interior ministry on Monday defended its decision not to grant police protection to Israilov. Although Gollia confirmed that the agent had talked about a death list with the names of 300 Chechens, he said that “unfortunately, no specific threat could be identified.”
Austrian police have arrested a Chechen refugee on the suspicion that he drove the getaway car used in Israilov’s murder. They are still searching for the two killers seen at the crime scene.
Since the Chechen conflicts in the 1990s, around 30,000 Chechens have fled to Austria. (dpa)