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The release of a Russian national from a Swiss prison
The release of a Russian national from a Swiss prison for killing an air traffic controller, was a positive step given the tragic circumstances of the murder, a senior Russian lawyer said on Thursday.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to release Vitaly Kaloyev, 50, who stabbed Peter Nielsen, a SkyGuide employee. Kaloyev believed he was responsible for a mid-air collision in 2002 that left his wife and two children dead. Earlier this year, his eight-year sentence was cut to five years and three months.

"This is a positive step on the part of the Swiss judiciary," Anatoly Kucherena said. "I am glad this decision was made, as we fully understand the circumstances of his family's death."

The court ruled Kaloyev, who served more than two thirds of his jail term in a Swiss prison, be released on good behavior and should be freed and return to Russia within a few days.

A Russian passenger plane collided with a DHL cargo aircraft over southern Germany, killing 71 people, including 45 children, in the early hours of July 2, 2002. Peter Nielsen was the only air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident.

Kaloyev tracked the air traffic controller to his home in Switzerland, where he stabbed him to death.

Kaloyev's brother, Yury, said he was happy to learn about the release, but added he did not know when Vitaly would return home.

"I do not know how long the release procedure takes," he said, adding he had not talked to his brother by phone as he had only heard the news today.


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