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Ukraine: Ex-Minister Ordered Journalist's Murder


A person lights a candle to help form the name Giya, nickname of Georgy Gongadze, during a memorial rally on Independence square in Kiev (file photo - 16 Sep 2008)

A person lights a candle to help form the name Giya, nickname of Georgy Gongadze, during a memorial rally on Independence square in Kiev (file photo - 16 Sep 2008)

Ukrainian prosecutors say the late Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko ordered the murder of opposition Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze.

Prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday that Kravchenko had ordered a top ministry official, General Olexy Pukach, to carry out the killing in 2000.

Kravchenko was found shot to death in 2005 in what investigators at the time said was a suicide.

Pukach, who was arrested in 2009, faces murder charges. Three ex-policemen are serving prison terms for their role in the killing.

Circumstances surrounding the killing of Gongadze, who was frequently critical of former President Leonid Kuchma, has transfixed Ukraine for years.

The anti-Kuchma opposition at that time accused the former president of involvement in the murder, but wrongdoing on Mr. Kuchma's part has never been established.

Gongadze was kidnapped in September 2000 in Kyiv. His headless corpse was found two months later outside the capital.

Last year, investigators discovered the remains of the journalist's skull, after General Pukach led them to the location. Authorities say he also confessed to the murder.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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