Tue, 11 Aug 2020

A Russian asylum seeker who was shot dead outside the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 4 was former Chechen separatist and a critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, sources in the Chechen diaspora told RFE/RL.

The sources said the victim was Mamikhan Umarov, who was known as Anzor of Vienna.

Officials in Austria have said only that the victim was a 43-year-old asylum seeker from the Russian Federation and that he was shot dead in a parking lot outside a shopping center in the Vienna suburb of Gerasdorf.

According to initial reports, the asylum seeker was shot in the head and died before ambulances arrived.

A suspect, who was also identified by Austrian authorities only as a Russian citizen, was captured several hours later about 200 kilometers west of the capital in Linz following a large-scale police manhunt.

Police are investigating the incident and trying to determine a motive.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Vienna told the state news agency TASS that it had not been contacted in connection with the events.

In interviews and social-media posts, Umarov has said he was a former mercenary who called himself a former employee of the security service of the former de facto independent Chechen state of Ichekeria. He frequently accused the Russian security forces of carrying out the assassinations of former Chechen separatists in European countries.

In February, Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov was attacked in Sweden. He was able to overpower his alleged attacker and hand him over to the authorities.

In March 2019, the head of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daduyev declared a blood feud against Abdurakhmanov.

On January 30, Chechen blogger Imran Aliyev, also a critic of Kadyrov, was found dead in the French city of Lille. He had been stabbed 135 times. Prosecutors say they have identified a Russian-born man who returned to Chechnya immediately following the killing as the prime suspect in the case.

In August 2019, Georgian native Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen separatist fighter, was shot dead in Berlin. A Russian citizen has been arrested in connection with that killing.

Rights groups have accused Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya since 2007, of numerous human rights abuses, including kidnappings, torture, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and the targeted killings of political and personal rivals both in Russia and abroad.

With reporting by TASS, APA, and Kurier

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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