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Austria’s top court green lights extradition of North Ossetian crime boss to Russia

Accused ringleader of a North Ossetian organized crime gang Aslan Gagiyev was detained in Vienna in January 2015

VIENNA, September 12. /TASS/. The Austrian Supreme Court of Justice has upheld the ruling of Vienna’s Regional Court to extradite an accused ringleader of a North Ossetian organized crime gang Aslan Gagiyev (nicknamed Jaco) from Austria to Russia, a TASS correspondent reported from Vienna’s Palace of Justice on Tuesday.

"The court approves the extradition. The final decision will be made by the Minister of Justice," Judge Leo Levnaik-Ivanski said.

According to the judge, "the guilt should be proven on the territory of the country, which filed the request for extradition."

"The court rejected the defendant’s appeal. We have no suspicions that the country does not observe human rights. We assume that there will be an honest trial in Russia. We have asked for diplomatic assurances and guarantees that there will be no torture. Russia has provided multiple guarantees that there will be neither torture, nor human rights violations," the judge said.

Trial in Austria

On April 4, the Supreme Court in Vienna had indefinitely postponed a decision on Gagiyev’s extradition to clarify all the circumstances and conditions surrounding the defendant’s detention in Russia. Judge Leo Levnaik-Ivanski noted that the supreme court thus dismissed the Gagiyev defense team’s motion against the ruling by the Vienna regional criminal court of November 4, 2016, on the admissibility of his extradition to Russia.

In 2015, the Vienna regional criminal court repeatedly ruled on the admissibility of extraditing the alleged serial killer from North Ossetia to Russia. According to the court’s order, Gagiyev’s extradition to Russia was recognized as possible. The court’s rulings did not take legal effect, because the defense attorneys appealed against them to a higher court.

The Supreme Court in Vienna twice annulled the decision of the Vienna regional court to extradite Gagiyev. The case was sent for re-examination by the first instance court due to "doubts regarding the observance of human rights in terms of prohibiting torture by the country asking for extradition."

The Supreme Court in Vienna also demanded that the Russian side provide additional guarantees that the Austrian Embassy in Moscow should be notified about the place where Gagiyev will be serving out his sentence and will be allowed to visit him.

Gagiyev case

Gagiyev was detained in Vienna in January 2015 on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol’s Moscow office. In Russia, Gagiyev is accused of establishing a crime gang, carrying out and organizing murders.

His mobsters are responsible for dozens of murders, including the assassination of Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev and North Ossetian Vice Premier Kazbek Pagiyev. This criminal mob cobbled together and led by Gagiyev, started its crime wave in 2004 with more than 46 members. The gang committed over 40 murders, assassination attempts against law enforcement officers and attempted murders in Moscow, the Moscow region and North Ossetia.