An Austrian court on Wednesday convicted three Russian men of accessory to murder and sentenced one of them to life in prison for the 2009 murder of a former bodyguard and critic of Chechnya's president.
The court found Otto Kaltenbrunner, 42, guilty of serving as a ringleader for the trio and handed him a life sentence, the Austria Press Agency reported.
The court found the group had originally planned to kidnap 27-year-old Umar Israilov, a Chechen, who had come to Austria seeking asylum after serving and later turning against Chechnya's pro-Kremlin leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Israilov was gunned down on a Vienna street on January 19, 2009 in a case that proved embarrassing for Austrian authorities after it emerged he had been denied their help after alerting them that he believed he was being followed and in danger of losing his life.
Attempts to interrogate Kadyrov regarding his alleged involvement in the case failed.
Suleyman Dadaev, 37, was handed a 19-year sentence for his role in the killing and 32-year-old Turpal Ali Yeshurkaev, a sentence of 16 years in prison.
All three had pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory to murder, forming a criminal organization and attempted kidnapping.
Israilov, the father of four children who once served as Kadyrov's bodyguard, was a key witness against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights. His accounts of abuse _ including being kicked, beaten and electrocuted by Kadyrov _ had also formed the basis of a criminal complaint against the strong-armed ruler on charges of torture and attempted duress filed by Austrian lawyers in June 2008.