Organisers of Gongadze murder are 'getting away'

By Jon Slattery

The authorities in Ukraine are obstructing the investigation into
the murder of journalist Gyorgy Gongadze, a new report claimed this
week.

Those who instigated and organised the murder of Gongadze are
“getting away”, according to the report, published by the NUJ, the
International Federation of Journalists, the Gongadze Foundation and
the Institute of Mass Information, a Kiev-based press freedom campaign
group.

This Friday (16 September) marks the fifth anniversary of
the killing of internet journalist Gongadze, whose headless body was
found in a ditch in a village outside Kiev.Shortly after that, tapes
made by a bodyguard of former president Leonid Kuchma, on which the
president and other ministers could be heard planning to harm Gongadze,
were made public.

After the “Orange revolution”, the new president, Viktor Yushchenko, promised to make solving the murder a priority.

But
the report claims the investigation has been marked by serious
negligence, and there has been political pressure to steer it away from
the organisers of the crime and limit it to the immediate perpetrators.

The
investigation has established that Gongadze was killed by a group of
serving interior ministry officers, some of whom are expected to be
triedshortly. But the leader of the group, General Olexiy Pukach, has
disappeared and former interior minister Yuri Kravchenko, a key
witness, has died in mysterious circumstances.

Jeremy Dear,
general secretary of the NUJ, said: “The issue for us in the NUJ is
that people with power and authority must not think that they can use
violence to silence journalists and get away with it.

“That’s why this case is important for press freedom, not just in Ukraine, but in the whole of Europe.”

Dear
will lead a delegation to the Ukrainian embassy in Holland Park, London
on Friday at 10.30pm to express concern to the chargé d’affaires about
the lack of progress in Gongadze’s case.

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