A prison official says a former Kazakh diplomat who faced murder charges has been found hanged in his cell in an apparent suicide.

Prison director Peter Prechtl told the Austria Press Agency that Rakhat Aliyev was found Tuesday morning in the bathroom of his cell in Vienna's Josefstadt jail.

Aliyev, an estranged former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was charged in December over the kidnapping and killing of two bank managers in Kazakhstan. His trial had been expected to start in March or April.

Aliyev was dismissed as Kazakh ambassador to Austria in 2007 after accusing Nazarbayev of totalitarianism.

He had said he was innocent in the murder case.