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Arrested Chechen only helper in Israilov slaying

The Chechen man arrested in Poland last Thursday in connection with the slaying of Chechen refugee Umar Israilov in Vienna last month is not the murderer, according to the Interior Ministry.

Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said today (Mon) the arrested Chechen, Turpal Ali J., was "not the executioner" but his accomplice. "That is the assumption supported by the results of the investigation," Gollia added.

Israilov was chased down and shot by two men on a Vienna street in broad daylight on 13 January 2009.

The Vienna public prosecutor’s office said Austria had already asked for Turpal Ali J.’s extradition and received "signals" it would quickly occur. Gollia said: "It depends on the decision of Polish authorities."

Public prosecutor office spokesman Gerhard Jarosch said it would have been better had news of Turpal Ali J.’s arrest remained secret since publicity about the arrest might make it harder to find the trigger man. Jarosch added DNA found on a jacket abandoned by one of the two men who had killed Israilov had played a role in Turpal Ali J.’s arrest.

Israilov’s murder may have been a political killing as he used to be a bodyguard for Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadyrov, unpopular in his country as he is seen as a puppet of Russian president Vladimir Putin, before falling out with him.

Israilov’s efforts to publicise Kadyrov’s massive violations of human rights may have been the reason for his murder.

Israilov had lived three-to-four years in Austria before his death. He applied for asylum in September 2005, and his application was approved in June 2007. Israilov had claimed he was being followed in the days before his death, according to Austrian police.

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