Dear President Yanukovych,
The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports of irregularities in the decade-long investigation into the 2000 kidnapping and murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze. Particularly, CPJ is disturbed by efforts to derail progress in the investigation and peg the ultimate responsibility for the murder on a dead suspect, while other leads in the case languish. Since assuming office in March, you have publicly stated your commitment to press freedom in Ukraine. The case of Georgy Gongadze is a litmus test for you and your administration, and we urge you to ensure that none of the perpetrators of his kidnapping and killing are allowed to walk free.
A two-year-long trial of three suspected accomplices in Gongadze’s murder ended in 2008 with convictions–a significant step on the road to justice. The three men–all police officers–are currently serving lengthy prison terms for having followed, abducted, and decapitated the journalist in September 2000. In July 2009, a key suspect, Interior Ministry General Aleksei Pukach, was arrested in northeastern Ukraine. Investigating authorities dubbed Pukach Gongadze’s immediate killer. He is accused of organizing surveillance of the journalist and strangling him.