Friday, 24 July 2009

Key breakthrough in Gongadze murder case

Reporters Without Borders says the investigation into the September 2000 murder of investigative online journalist Georgy Gongadze is finally in the process of being resolved and firmly hopes that the officials who ordered Gongadze’s murder will now be identified and brought to trial.
“There has been decisive progressive of late in this investigation, which until now had been a symbol of impunity in Ukraine,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We are deeply relieved, and moved for the Gongadze family, to learn of the confession by Gen. Olexy Pukach, the former head of foreign intelligence in the interior ministry.”
The journalist’s decapitated body was found in a forest near Kiev two weeks after he was kidnapped on 16 September 2000. Aged 31 at the time of his death, Gongadze was the editor of the online newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda, in which he wrote extensively about corruption cases implicating senior members of President Leonid Kuchma’s government.
Three former police officers – Mykola Protasov, Oleksandr Popovich and Valeri Kostenko – were convicted last year of carrying out Gongadze’s murder on Gen. Pukach’s orders but Pukach had eluded arrest until this week.
The press freedom organisation added: “But we must remain vigilant. The authorities must reveal the names of the officials identified by Gen. Pukach as having given him his orders, and they must be arrested and tried. The investigation must not be cut short after coming so far.”
The recent progress began when the Kiev supreme court decided on 12 June that secret recordings made by former President Leonid Kuchma’s bodyguard, Mykola Melnichenko, could be incorporated into the investigation.

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