Call for further action over journalist's death

Press Freedom campaigners have welcomed the jailing of three men for the killing of Ukrainian journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

But they have said that those who ordered the killing must now be punished.

The murder of campaigning journalist Gongadze in 2000 was one of the most notorious media killings in recent years.

Evidence provided by the ‘Melnychenko tapes’suggested that his murder was ordered by members of the Ukrainian government.

Ending a trial begun in January 2006, a Kiev court found on 14 March that three former police officers – Mykola Protasov, Oleksandr Popovich and Valeri Kostenko – were guilty of carrying out Gongadze’s killing.

As requested by prosecutors, Protasov was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The other two were sentenced to 12 years.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement: ‘We are obviously pleased

with this verdict. But justice has not yet been fully rendered in the Gongadze case, which shook the entire nation. The instigators of this murder have still to be identified and punished. The conviction of the three people who carried it out should not be taken to mean the investigation is over.”

Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor-general, Mykola Holomsha, said at thebeginning of March that he was waiting for the results of the expert analysis of the recordings made by former President Leonid Kuchma’s bodyguard, Mykola Melnychenko, before deciding whether more people should be charged.

Gongadze was the editor of the online newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda, which he created in April 2000. He was 31 when he was killed.

He often wrote about cases of alleged corruption involving members of the Kuchma government.

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