The same year, Austrian lawyers working on behalf of the ECCHR filed a complaint against Kadyrov on charges of widespread torture. Key to their case was the eyewitness testimony of Umar Israilov, a former bodyguard of Kadyrov's who said that not only did he watch Kadyrov torturing others, but said he was personally subjected to electric shock at Kadyrov's hands. Kadyrov laughed while torturing him, Israilov said according to the ECCHR.
After escaping to Austria and going to the ECCHR, Israilov told the group he and his family had been threatened by a man claiming to have been sent by Kadyrov. In January 2009, Israilov was shot dead in the streets of Vienna, after which Austrian police said "circumstantial evidence" linked Kadyrov to the killings. Kadyrov denied all responsibility for the crime.
Just a few months after Israilov's murder, police in the United Arab Emirates said they believed a close associate of Kadyrov's to be involved in the murder of a former Chechen general who had fallen out with Kadyrov, according to the New York Times.
"We remain gravely concerned... about the extrajudicial killings, torture, and disappearances committed with impunity by the forces of Chechen President Kadyrov and others," Michael H. Posner, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said during a visit to Washington, D.C., in March.
Most recently, Chechen media loyal to the rebel insurgency, Turkish press and the families of the victims have linked Kadyrov and Russian intelligence to the killings of three rebel Chechen militants in Istanbul last month, alleging one of the men involved in the assassinations was a close associate of Kadyrov's. A spokesperson at the Russian embassy in the U.S. told ABC News after the murders that the allegation the Russian government was involved was "pure speculation".
In addition to alleged political crimes, in 2009 Kadyrov defended the murder of seven women, saying they deserved to die in the honor killings for their "loose morals," according to Russian press.
"If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them are killed," Kadyrov told reporters at the time.
Officials in the Russian embassy in the U.S. and officials based in Grozny did not immediately return requests for comment on this report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.