French police now believe the murder of a Chechen blogger, who vocally opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin, was politically motivated, Business Insider is reporting.
Imran Aliev was found dead in a French hotel room last week. His throat had been slit.
Aliev, 44, also had been a critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
"[Aliev] left Belgium Wednesday where he was under police protection because of threats out of Russia and Chechnya over his opposition blogging," a senior French police official told Business Insider.
"He was accompanied by another Chechen, who we have tentatively identified based on his travel documents," the official said.
"This identification could be a case of mistaken identity or even an illegal alibi but that we cannot determine [anything] until we have spoken with this man we believe is an important witness."
It is the latest high-profile murder of a Chechen dissent living in Europe in recent years, CNN reported. Rights groups say the killings are a warning from Moscow.
Mansur Sadulaev, chairman of the Chechen Human Rights Association (VAYFOND), told the news network that Aliev was known for his "harsh and offensive remarks" about people of the Caucasus as well as his criticism of the Chechen government.
Sadulaev also blamed Moscow for the murder.
"He was killed as a warning to others, thus trying to intimidate everyone who criticizes 'Russian protégé' in Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov," Sadulaev said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.