Myroslava's Gongadze lawyer: Pukach admits murdering Gongadze - Kyiv Post

Pukach, who is charged with the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze, has partially admitted his guilt, says Valentyna Telychenko, the lawyer for the journalist's widow, Myroslava Gongadze. focus.ua

Myroslava's Gongadze lawyer: Pukach admits murdering Gongadze

Today at 17:11 | Interfax-Ukraine

Former Head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's External Surveillance Department Oleksiy Pukach, who is charged with the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze, has partially admitted his guilt, the Ukrayinska Pravda Web site reported on Tuesday, referring to Valentyna Telychenko, the lawyer for the journalist's widow, Myroslava Gongadze.

"[Pukach] has acknowledged that he committed the murder of Gongadze by his own hand, at the same time arguing that the surveillance operation against the journalist was legal," Telychenko said while commenting on the first interrogation of Pukach in court.

"Pukach didn't admit that he destroyed the documents on the surveillance of Gongadze in 2003. He said that he did not destroy the documents and that his subordinates didn't do it when he was on leave," she added.

As reported, Pechersky District Court in Kyiv started questioning Pukach behind closed doors on Tuesday. Andriy Fedur, a lawyer for Lesia Gongadze, the mother of murdered journalist Georgy Gongadze, said Pukach gave very interesting testimony at a court session on Tuesday.

Gongadze went missing in Kyiv on September 16, 2000. A decapitated corpse, which experts claimed could be that of Gongadze, was found in a forest outside Kyiv in November 2000. In May 2010 Ukrainian Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko stated that fragments of a skull found in July 2009 in Kyiv region belonged to Gongadze.

In 2008, three former officers from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry External Surveillance and Criminal Intelligence Department, Col. Valeriy Kostenko, Col. Mykola Protasov, and Maj. Oleksandr Popovych, were found guilty of killing Gongadze. Former head of the Interior Ministry's External Surveillance Department Oleksiy Pukach, another suspect in the case, was detained in the Zhytomyr region on July 21, 2009.

The Prosecutor General's Office said on December 6, 2010, that it had completed the investigation into the criminal case against Pukach.

The pre-trial investigation established that on the night from September 16 to September 17, 2000, Oleksiy Pukach, under the instructions of Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko and other officials, [and] in preliminary agreement with a group of persons, committed the premeditated murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze, because the victim was fulfilling public and journalistic duties, the prosecutor's office said.

On March 4, 2005 ex-Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko was found dead in his home at Koncha-Zaspa outside Kyiv with two gunshot wounds in his head. A day earlier, he had been questioned as part of the inquiry into the Gongadze murder. The Prosecutor General's Office in February 2007 closed the investigation "in the absence of elements essential to the crime." It claimed Kravchenko had committed suicide.

On August 18, 2011, Pechersky District Court in Kyiv separated the materials concerning Kravchenko from the case against Pukach, on charges of the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze, from, and sent them for further investigation.

30 Aug, 2011


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