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Swiss court frees air worker's killer

The highest Swiss court has ruled that Vitaly Kaloyev should be freed. The Russian was jailed for stabbing to death an air traffic controller he blamed for an air crash that killed his wife and two young children in 2002. Earlier this year, his eight-yea

Sister Zoya Kaloyeva said they felt great joy:

“Tears were in our eyes when we got the news. The phone keeps ringing all the time. Vitaly must take care of his health – he suffers from high blood pressure. He will first stay with his older brother in Moscow, and then will see”.

“Finally the truth has triumphed and Vitaly is released. We thank those judges who have been deciding his fate and who understood that this man has had enough and shouldn't be punished any longer. He has already lost the most precious things he had – his loved-ones. The whole family and all the neighbours have been praying for him and God eventually heard us,” she added.

“This is a long-awaited moment. He is exhausted. This is a person who went through two major tragedies: the first one, when he lost his family, and this got him into the second one, when he killed Peter Nielsen,” Konstantin Kaloyev, Vitaly Kaloyev’s brother, commented.

Kaloyev's lawyer, Markus Hug, told Russia Today that it was one of the most difficult cases he's ever had to deal with because of all the tragic circumstances of the crash and unanswered questions. Kaloyev was also a victim of this tragedy, the lawyer believes.

Monument on the grave of Kaloyev's family
Monument on the grave of Kaloyev's family

And he added that he believed that good reasoning by the defence helped persuade the judges:

“I was always convinced that we had good arguments in the case and we proved it today. I've already contacted Kaloyev's translator. I  will perhaps meet Kaloyev tomorrow – if he stays in prison until tomorrow. He could be released in a matter of several hours”.

Kaloyev, 50, stabbed Peter Nielsen to death because he held the SkyGuide employee responsible for an air crash that killed his wife and two young children in 2002.

Earlier this year, the eight-year term was cut to five years and three months with the possibility of parole. But an appeal to the Federal Court by the prosecution overruled the parole decision.

Now the court has ruled Kaloyev is a free man as he served more than 2/3 of his term and behaved well in prison. Kaloyev will be actually released within a few days.

On July 1, 2002 a Russian passenger plane collided with a DHL cargo plane over southern Germany, killing 71 people, including 49 children.

Peter Nielsen was the only air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident.

Kaloyev tracked him down to his home in Switzerland, where he stabbed him to death.