Austrian police contact Chechen exiles named on alleged death list
Austrian police have started to contact Chechen exiles whose names appear on an alleged death list published on the internet, following the murder of a Chechen refugee last week, an interior ministry spokesman said Thursday.
In another sign that police are increasing security for Chechens, around 100 officers and a police helicopter were deployed Thursday in Vienna for the funeral of Umar Israilov, 27, who was shot by two unknown men near his Vienna home on January 13, dpa reported.
The interior ministry has come under criticism that it did not protect Israilov, who had informed Austrian intelligence that he was being threatened, possibly in connection with his claim that he had been tortured on orders of Chechnya's pro-Russian president Ramzan Kadyrov.
Police are currently going through a list with the names of some 2000 Chechens who are in danger of being killed or abducted which was published on Chechenpress, a website sympathetic to Chechen separatists.
"Several people have been contacted" after their names were found on the list, interior ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Earlier on Thursday, the slain man's father, Ali Israilov, led a small demonstration in Vienna's centre, calling for measures to prevent additional murders. "Police evidently made a mistake," the father said, according to Austrian news agency APA.
Six days after Israilov's death, a Russian journalist and a lawyer were shot dead in Moscow last Tuesday. Attorney Stanislav Markelov had protested the early release of a Russian officer who had murdered a Chechen woman.
When asked about the Moscow shooting, Vienna's police chief Gerhard Puerstl told reporters that his organization was using "all current events, everything that we learn" for analyzing the potential threat to Chechens in Austria.