Press release

Ukraine: Conviction over murder of journalist a victory but not the end of the fight for justice

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ARTICLE 19

30 Jan 2013

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ARTICLE 19 welcomes the conviction of the former police general Aleksei Pukach in relation to the murder of the investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze in 2000:

“Finally, one of those responsible for Georgiy’s murder has been brought to justice. This is a victory for all of those who have campaigned long and hard for justice for Georgiy and we hope that it is of some small comfort to his family and friends” said Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“This must not be a hollow victory and the authorities in the Ukraine must continue what they have begun. Pukach’s conviction must not be the end, the masterminds of Georgiy’s murder must be brought to justice” said Callamard.

“When a state fails to seek justice for those who speak uncomfortable truths, democracy suffers and censorship reigns. Where a journalist is murdered and a state allows such a crime to go unchecked, freedom of expression is stifled” she added.

Georgiy Gongadze was the co-founder of the news website Ukrainska Pravda.

Gongadze had been frequently harassed and intimidated by authorities, including the Ukrainian Secret Service, because of his criticism of the government. He disappeared on 16 September 2000 and his decapitated body was found on 3 November 2000, doused in dioxin and petrol.

The criminal investigation into the case has been marred by frequent delays and obstruction by government officials following the death of key witnesses in the case.

ARTICLE 19 has raised Georgiy’s case repeatedly over the past twelve years and campaigned for justice for both him and his family.