Prosecutors in Ukraine have formally charged a former top police
officer with the grisly 2000 murder of Internet journalist Heorhiy
The prosecutor general office charged Olexy Pukach
Friday with kidnapping, murder and the destruction of documents.
Authorities arrested Pukach Tuesday and later said he confessed to the
In his Internet articles, Gongadze had exposed corruption
in the government of then-President Leonid Kuchma. Gongadze
disappeared in September 2000. His decapitated body was found two
months later outside the capital, Kiev.
Pukach headed Ukraine's Interior Ministry surveillance unit at the time of the crime.
Earlier, authorities said Pukach was thought to have personally strangled the 31-year-old victim.
was arrested in 2003 on suspicion of destroying documents in the case
and then released. He disappeared a short while later. He was
indicted in absentia for murder in 2005.
A Ukrainian court last
year sentenced three other former police officers to terms of up to 13
years in prison for the Gongadze murder.
The European Court of
Human Rights ruled in 2005 that Ukrainian authorities mishandled the
Gongadze investigation. The court ordered the country's government to
pay $120,000 to his widow.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.