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Former Ukraine President Kuchma ordered journalist's killing: Witness

London, Sun, 04 Sep 2011 ANI

London, Sept 4 (ANI): A former senior Ukrainian police official accused of murdering journalist Georgiy Gongadze in 2000 has reportedly admitted playing a role in the killing after being ordered by the then President Leonid Kuchma.


ABC News quoted a Kyiv Post report as saying that the decapitated body of Gongadze, a muckraking journalist whose website exposed corruption and repression in the Kuchma administration, was found along the road to the Kyiv airport months after he was kidnapped from his home in September 200. His head has never been found.


Kuchma has denied any involvement in the killing ever since a former presidential security officer in hiding in Europe announced he had tape recordings of the president talking about getting rid of the reporter.


The trial Oleksiy Pukach, the former head of the Main Criminal Investigation Department at the Interior Ministry's foreign surveillance unit, has been closed to journalists and the public, but a lawyer representing Gondaze's widow said that Pukach testified Kuchma ordered the killing, the report said.


According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, former Gongadze colleague Oleksiy Podolsky said Pukach "clearly named former President Leonid Kuchma and former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko as having ordered the murder."


Ukraine prosecutors initiated indicted Kuchma, who was president from 1995 to 2004, on charges of abuse of power this past spring, alleging that the former president gave orders that led to Gongadze's killing, the report added. (ANI)


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