Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The circle narrows

By Aussiegirl

More from Reuters about the investigation in to the Gongadze murder.

An interesting side note, as previously mentioned on this blog, Kuchma appears to STILL be taking the waters at the Czech resort of Karlovy Vary -- I guess this news leaves him a bit green around the gills.

Read more:

"The gang which killed Gongadze were made up of colonels and generals ... All the murderers were serving officers in the police and intelligence service," Piskun told a packed news conference broadcast live by all main television channels."

President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday declared the Gongadze case solved and accused Kuchma's administration of covering up for those who lay behind it.

Investigators detained three senior police officers and were searching for a fourth suspect -- a former general who headed the intelligence service at the Interior Ministry. They also planned to question former Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko this week.

Gongadze was editor of Internet news site Ukrainska Pravda who wrote about corruption in Kuchma's administration. His mutilated and decapitated body was found in a wood outside Kiev in November 2000.

"The people who abducted him intended to kill him. As soon as he got into a car, three police officers appeared," Piskun said. "They beat him up on the way and brought him to a site. They tied him up and ... then they killed him, poured petrol on him and set his body on fire."

Piskun said Gongadze died from suffocation. He declined all comment on whether his severed head had been recovered.

Kuchma easily weathered the months of rallies which ensued. But the scandal dogged his later time in office until he stepped down in January after Yushchenko won power on the wave of "Orange Revolution" rallies against vote fraud.
Kuchma was linked to the murder by his former bodyguard, who fled Ukraine with hundreds of hours of tapes he recorded secretly in his office. In one excerpt, a voice similar to Kuchma's was heard giving an order to "deal with" the reporter.

Kuchma has always denied any connection with the crime, and no convincing evidence of his involvement was ever presented.

The name of the former president, who is on an extended holiday in the Czech resort of Karlovy Vary, was not mentioned at the news conference. And there was no indication whether prosecutions of top officials in his entourage would follow.

Piskun said prosecutors could not use the recordings as evidence as the bodyguard refused to cooperate with investigators. He is now in the United States.

Gongadze's corpse remains unburied, kept in a Kiev morgue.


At 12:21 AM, Blogger Pindar said...

Considering that a lot of Kuchma's retirement goodies have been withdrawn, he'll probably decide to stay on at this Czech spa.


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