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Court dismisses Melnychenko's appeal to close Lytvyn's libel lawsuit against him

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Aug. 10, 2011, 12:46 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine
The Appeal Court of Kyiv has rejected an appeal by an ex-major of the presidential security guards, Mykola Melnychenko, to close a lawsuit on a complaint by Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn challenging Melnychenko's statement about Lytvyn's involvement in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze. The panel of judges of Kyiv Court of Appeal made this decision on Tuesday. Melnychenko's lawyer Natalia Nedilko said the court hadn't given grounds for this decision.

Melnychenko in turn said he was not going to present his apologies to Lytvyn, since he believes he was right.

"In any case, I'm not going to apologize to Lytvyn. He will not live to see it, even if the court rules so, because the truth is on my side," the ex-major said.

The lawsuit quotes Melnychenko's statements in interviews with some publications, in which he argued that it was Volodymyr Lytvyn who proposed that journalist Georgy Gongadze be murdered.

As reported, a criminal case was opened against third Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on March 21, 2011. He is charged with abuse of power and official authority, which subsequently led to the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze (Part 3, Article 166 of the 1960 Criminal Code). Tapes secretly recorded by Melnychenko - Kuchma's former bodyguard - in the president's office were declared to be material evidence in the case.

Lytvyn was the head of Kuchma's Presidential Administration. Ukraine's First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin confirmed that the voice of Lytvyn could be found on the tapes. The parliament speaker is currently a witness at Kuchma's trial.
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