The trial of three policemen accused of the 2000 murder of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze resumed in Kiev on 5 February. The prosecutor has requested sentences ranging from 12 to 14 years in prison for the three defendants, Nicolas Protasov, Alexandre Popovitch and Valery Kostenko.
“As the trial resumes, we reiterate our desire to see Gongadze’s murderers convicted,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We hope that all those who were behind this murder will also be identified, tried and convicted.”
Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor-general Mykola Holomsha, said at the start of the month that he was waiting for the results of the expert analysis of the recordings made by former President Leonid Kuchma’s bodyguard, Mykola Melnychenko. As soon as they are known, the court could formally charge “certain persons” with organising Gongadze’s murder, he said.
The editor of the online newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda, which he created in April 2000, Gongadze often wrote about cases of alleged corruption involving members of the Kuchma government. He was also an active campaigner for more press freedom in Ukraine. He was 31 years old when he was kidnapped on 16 September 2000. A headless body and a skull found near Kiev six weeks later were identified as his.