( dpa ) - A Russian architect convicted of killing an air traffic controller over an aeroplane crash above Germany was appointed deputy minister in his native region on Friday.
Vitaly Kaloyev, who lost his wife and children in the 2002 flight collision, will be put in charge of public investments into building projects in the North Caucasus region of North Ossetia, news agency Itar-Tass reported.
Kaloyev, 51, returned home to a hero's welcome in November after being released early for good behaviour two-thirds of the way into serving his sentence in a Swiss jail.
North Ossetia's President Taimuraz Mamsurov, who personally pressed for Kaloyev's return home, promised to do all he could to ensure Kaloyev was well received in his home region.
In an interview with Izvestia newspaper published Friday, Kaloyev said he could have taken up his post earlier, "but I had so many visitors after my return that I asked the head of the republic to wait until after the new year's celebrations."
Akhsarbek Khodov, the fellow deputy minister in the department Kaloyev will be joining, said the architect was "a talented specialist, professional and communicative person."
"Our sons went to the same school and our wives worked at the same bank ... I will do anything to help him," he added.
In October 2005, Kaloyev was found guilty of the premeditated homicide of Peter Nielsen, an air traffic controller with Swiss company SkyGuide.
Nielsen was the only controller on duty when a Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 and a DHL cargo jet collided in midair over a region he was responsible for in southern Germany. The crash killed 71 people.