Austria Keeps Chechens Jailed

An Austrian court has ordered five suspects to remain jailed in connection with the murder of Chechen political refugee Umar Israilov, a critic of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

The suspects were among a group of seven Chechen refugees detained last week in sweeps by Austrian police, two of whom were released because of lack of evidence, Gerhard Jarosch, a spokesman for Vienna prosecutors, told The Moscow Times by telephone Monday.

The five suspects will remain behind bars following Saturday's court ruling, which must be reviewed after two weeks, Jarosch said. A sixth Chechen detained after Israilov's murder on Jan. 13 also remains in jail. Israilov was shot dead by two men on a Vienna street.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Israilov was killed four days after the newspaper informed the Russian government that it was planning to publish a report based on interviews with Israilov in which Kadyrov is implicated in torture and murder. After withholding publication for several months over concerns for the safety of witnesses, the newspaper notified Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's office on Jan. 9 that it was seeking interviews with Russian officials about Israilov's allegations.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment in detail, saying, "It's not wise to comment on any rumors," the report said.

Jarosch said The New York Times report would be studied by prosecutors.