Thuggish

Investigation: Chechen President Ordered Kidnapping

Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov ordered the kidnapping of exiled whistle-blower Umar Israilov, an Austrian investigation has found. Kadryov, who is backed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has denied any role in Israilov’s death. Austrian prosecutors are preparing indictments, saying the Chechen leader ordered the abduction; hired goons botched the job and shot their target as he tried to flee. Three Chechen exiles are in Austrian custody—a fourth, the suspected shooter, flew to Russia immediately after the killing. Israilov fled Russia in 2006 and filed a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights in which he said Kadyrov had ordered in kidnappings, murder, and torture to beat back separatists in Chechnya, which is part of Russia. Before his death, Israilov had asked for police protection because he said Kadyrov had “promised a bounty for me.”