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Ukraine6 October 2006

Witnesses give contradictory views about motives for Gongadze murder

Witnesses disagreed on the central question of whether journalist Georgy Gongadze was killed for criticising President Leonid Kuchma’s government when they testified during the latest hearings on 29 September and 4 October in the Kiev trial of three policemen accused of his murder in 2000.

Former colleague Lyudmila Frolova, who began working with him at Ukrainskaya Pravda in April 1999 and who is a friend of his widow, Myroslava, testified that she noticed the couple’s home was under surveillance in July 2000. She said she saw two suspicious-looking men seating in the courtyard during her visits.

Asked why she thought he was murdered, Frolova replied: “There was no information in his articles that could have prompted anyone to murder him.”

But Yulia Mostova, the editor of Mirror Weekly, said she was convinced President Kuchma was prodded by someone in his entourage to have Gongadze murdered. The recordings made by Kuchma bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko proved that Gongadze’s articles were threatening someone close to the president if not the president himself, she said.

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