Viennese court extends Aliyev’s investigative arrest
June 24. Tengrinews
Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina
Investigative arrest of Nazarbayev’s former son-in-law, former vice chief of intelligence of Kazakhstan and ex-ambassador to Austria Rakhat Aliyev has been extended by the Vienna Regional Court, Tengrinews reports citing Heute.at.
Aliyev was arrested on June 5, 2014 in Austria on suspicions of kidnap, torture and murder of two Kazakhstani bankers Timraliyev and Khasenov in 2007. On Thursday evening he arrived to Vienna International Airport on his private jet from Greece and presented himself to the Austrian authorities. Hours after his arrest two of his alleged accomplices living in Vienna were arrested.
A pretiral detention was imposed on all three of them. Initially the arrest was to last until June 20. However, it has been extended.
The pretrial arrest was expended on Friday, June 20, because the facts still supported the suspicions of Aliyev’s involvement in the crime. Recorded Internet phone calls of the trio were among the evidences presented to the judge. The web-log of the Skype video conference between Aliyev, his former intelligence boss and a former torturer was cited as ground for his arrest. The log allegedly clearly showed that all three knew about the murders or were involved.
Aliyev’s next habeas corpus, a probable cause hearing where the judge will consider grounds for his arrest, will be held in a month. The same goes for the former ambassador’s alleged accomplices.
It was reported earlier that if Aliyev is found guilty, he may be sentenced to life imprisonment in Austria. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, however, Aliyev’s lawyer Manfred Ainedter ruled out the possibility of extradition of the billionaire to Kazakhstan.
The prospect of life imprisonment makes one wonder why Aliyev was so willing to hand himself in. There seems to be only two reasonable explanations for that behavior. The first one is that he hoped to be found not guilty. And the second one is that the risk of being arrested outside Europe and the possibly of being delivered to Kazakhstan had become too big and Aliyev had to choose the bad from between the bad and the worse. So it seems that the possible prison sentence in Austria looked preferable to him. Kazakhstan courts already found Aliyev guilty of the murders several years back. So now the fugitive billionaire faces a 40 year prisons term in Kazakhstan. The verdicts were handed out in absentia, however, as Aliyev was hiding abroad since 2007. The Kazakh General Prosecutor’s Office said that it sent all the Kazakhstan case files to the Austrian law enforcement in order to help with the investigation.
The first hearing in the Austrian version of the case will probably take place no earlier than January 2015. Nevertheless, it is not clear as to when the indictment will be ready and how long the presiding judge will review the case files. Besides, under the Austrian law Aliyev’s defense may appeal against the indictment, which would also mean extra pre-trial time.