Committee to Protect Journalists: We are ‘alarmed by manipulation of still-unsolved Gongadze investigation’

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March 3, 2011, 12:04 a.m. | Letters — by Kyiv Post

Kyiv Post

Editor’s Note: The following is a statement issued on March 2 by the New York City-based Committee to Protect Journalists regarding what appears to be a continued coverup by Ukrainian authorities in the 10-year murder of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze. The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the recent actions of Ukrainian authorities that threaten to upend progress in the 10-year-old investigation into the September 2000 abduction and murder of independent journalist Georgy Gongadze.

The Kyiv Court of Appeals ruled today to reject a second appeal by Myroslava Gongadze, the journalist’s widow, against the prosecutorial downgrading of the status of the murder from a contract killing to a “killing on verbal command.”

The new status of the case, in effect, pegs the responsibility for commissioning the crime on a single culprit—a dead interior minister—and technically precludes investigators from going after a larger circle of suspected masterminds.

A two-year-long trial of three suspected accomplices in Gongadze's murder ended in 2008 with convictions, but no one has been held responsible thus far for masterminding the crime. Prosecutors have failed to investigate former and current high-ranking officials—including former President Leonid Kuchma and then-head of presidential administration and current Parliament Speaker Vladimir Litvin—who have long been suspected of being involved in Gongadze's killing.

“This is nothing but an attempt by the authorities to close off further prosecutions in the murder of Georgy Gongadze,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “All perpetrators of this heinous crime, regardless of their rank, influence, and position, must be brought to justice.”

The Kyiv Court of Appeals ruling comes on the heels of procedural violations committed by investigating authorities in the case. In a March 1 public letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, CPJ laid out its concerns about seeming official attempts to quickly wrap up the most significant stage of the Gongadze investigation.

Gongadze, 31, editor of the independent Internet newspaper Ukrainska Pravda—which often criticized the policies of then President Leonid Kuchma—was last seen on September 16, 2000, leaving the home of a colleague to meet his wife and two young children. His headless body was discovered in a forest outside the town of Tarashcha two months later.

Persistent allegations of high-level government involvement in the murder have lingered since late November 2000, when an opposition leader released tape recordings of what he claimed were conversations between Kuchma, his chief of staff (and current parliament speaker), Vladimir Litvin, and then-Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko.

On the tapes—transcripts of which were carried by news agencies—three male voices discuss various ways of "dealing" with Gongadze. Kuchma and Litvin have repeatedly denied involvement. In 2005, Kravchenko was found dead in his apartment just hours before his scheduled questioning in the Gongadze case. Authorities said he had committed suicide but was found to have been killed by two shots in the head.
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Anonymous March 3, 2011, 6:46 a.m.    

Today the Ukraine President and government/prosecutors will do NOTHING to help solve this case. Why should they?....their friends did it.

The whole world knows that Kuchma and Lytvyn were the people who ordered the killing.

NOTHING will happen. This is the soviet union now.

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Anonymous June 25, 2011, 6:48 p.m.    

Berezovsky could have planned it to push the Zionist agenda in Ukraine. It worked. Ukraine is now a slave to the IMF and foreign banks/companies.

Interestingly enough, the NWO agenda stumbles upon one obstacle in Ukraine: corruption. This is why western countries whine about corruption all the time.

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Anonymous March 3, 2011, 6:07 p.m.    

Pfft, as if the orange mafia did anything to solve the murder case. LOL :D

Committee to Protect Journalists should rather whine why the EU did not solve the TWO murders of journalists in 2010.

Two journalists killed in Europe

Two journalists were murdered in European Union countries – Greece and Latvia. Neither murder has so far been solved. Social and political instability is having an impact on the work of the media in Greece, where Socratis Guiolias, the manager of Radio Thema 98.9, was gunned down with an automatic weapon outside his home in southeast Athens on 19 July. In Latvia, a country with a calmer environment for the press, Grigorijs Nemcovs, the publisher and editor of the regional newspaper Million and owner of a local TV station of the same name, was shot twice in the head in the southeastern city of Daugavpils while on his way to a meeting on 16 April.

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