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Austria’s justice minister approves extradition of North Ossetian crime boss to Russia

The Austrian Minister of Justice has authorized the extradition of an accused ringleader of a North Ossetian organized crime gang Aslan Gagiyev to Russia

VIENNA, September 13. /TASS/. The Austrian Minister of Justice has authorized the extradition of an accused ringleader of a North Ossetian organized crime gang Aslan Gagiyev (nicknamed Jaco) to Russia, a spokeswoman for the Vienna Regional Criminal Court informed TASS on Wednesday.

"The Ministry of Justice has authorized [Aslan Gagiyev’s] extradition," Christina Salzborn said.

On Tuesday, the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice upheld the ruling of Vienna’s Regional Court to extradite Gagiyev. According to Judge Leo Levnaik-Ivanski, the court approved the extradition, while the final decision has to be made by the Minister of Justice. The court thus rejected the defendant’s appeal about possible human rights violations in a Russian prison and stated that it had received guarantees to observe human rights from the Russian side and was looking forward to an honest trial in Russia.

After the court hearing, the Vienna Prosecutor’s Office requested Gagiyev’s arrest under paragraph 36 of the law on extradition and legal assistance. In light of this, he has been placed under pre-extradition arrest and incarcerated in Vienna’s Josefstadt district.

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 initiating 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.

In 2015, the Vienna regional criminal court repeatedly ruled on the admissibility of extraditing the alleged mass murderer from North Ossetia to Russia. According to the court’s order, Gagiyev’s extradition to Russia was deemed possible. The court’s rulings did not take any 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.