Locals in South Russia greet released revenge killer

VLADIKAVKAZ, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - A crowd of locals in North Ossetia, in Russia's North Caucasus, gathered on Wednesday to greet the killer of an air traffic controller he blamed for the death of his family.

Vitaly Kaloyev landed in Moscow on Tuesday, after being released from from a Swiss prison where he served over three years for the murder of an air traffic controller in 2004, and was given a hero's welcome by a nationalist youth group.

North Ossetian President Taimuraz Mansurov was among those greeting Kaloyev at the airport on Wednesday. Kaloyev declined to speak to the hundreds of journalists gathered.

Kaloyev lost his wife and two children in an air crash over southern Germany in 2002. In February 2004, he stabbed to death the only air traffic controller on duty at the time of the accident, Peter Nielsen.

On the night of July 1, 2002, a Russian passenger plane collided with a DHL cargo aircraft in airspace controlled by Swiss company Skyguide, killing 71 people, including 45 children.

The 51-year-old architect was sentenced to eight years in jail 2005 but was released by Swiss authorities on Monday after serving more than two-thirds of his sentence, and having earned a reduction for good behavior.

Earlier this year four employees of Skyguide were found guilty of criminal negligence leading to the crash.

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