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You're reading: Court sentences Pukach to life for murdering Gongadze, disregards claims against Kuchma, Lytvyn
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The Kyiv City Pechersk District Court did not question and investigate two other high-level former officials implicated in ordering the murder – former President Leonid Kuchma and his former chief of staff Volodymyr Lytvyn, now a member of parliament, despite the fact that Pukach numerous times alleged during the trial that the two ordered the murder.

“I will be satisfied when Kuchma and Lytvyn sit here next to me,” said Pukach in the courtroom responding to questions if he understands the court ruling. Both Kuchma and Lytvyn have always denied allegations of involvement in the abduction and murder of the journalist. The verdict took place in a tiny and poorly ventilated court room packed with police security and some 30 journalists. The months-long trial took place secretly, behind closed doors.

Pukach sat on a bench with a bottle of water, some pills and a small, worn-out prayer book, attentively listening to the five-hour verdict. He remained calm and focused through the ruling. Even when the judge announced his life sentence, Pukach’s facial expression did not change remaining stiff and reserved. His lawyer said the verdict will be appealed because it is too harsh.

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