The Ukrainian ambassador to Britain told an NUJ delegation today that the investigation into the murder 10 years ago of internet journalist Gyorgy Gongadze has been completed and court proceedings could start by the end of the year. Gongadze, editor of the internet newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, was kidnapped on 16 September 2000. His headless body was found in a ditch at Tarashcha outside Kyiv. The ambassador, Volodymyr Khandogiy (top), told the NUJ delegation: "As far as the investigation is concerned, it is completed. This is a major development. "Lawyers are now studying the case. The case is set to go to court by the end of this year. Now everything depends on the court." Miles Barter (below), who led the NUJ delegation, said the union was concerned that not all the relevant witnesses had been interviewed. He told the ambassador: "We want justice for Gyorgy Gongadze's family. It is also about protecting press freedom. If the case is not properly investigated it puts other independent journalists off. They are not going to protest about press freedom if they think they are going to be the next Gyorgy Gongadze." The ambassador said the Ukraine would welcome a new visit by representatives of press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders, which has published a critical report about the treatment of journalists in the country. Barter said after the meeting that the union still felt it was "previous" to say the murder investigation had been completed, but welcomed an offer by the ambassador to look at any press freedom complaints about the Ukraine that are made to the NUJ.
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