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28.05.2009

Environmental activist murdered in Kyiv

   

One of the defenders of the Zhukiv Island in Kyiv has been killed, and his wife seriously beaten. Such brazen lawlessness demands swift and decisive response from the authorities.  The following is a

Statement from the Kyiv Environmental-Cultural Centre

Statement from the Kyiv Environmental-Cultural Centre

On 26 May 12.00 in the courtyard of his apartment block 59-year old resident of the Holosiyivsky District, Olexei Lvovych Goncharov was murdered by two assailants. His wife was badly beaten.

Two days before his death, Mr Goncharov took part in an action to stop the illegal extraction, deposition and sale of sand at Zhukiv Island by several commercial firms.

The extraction of sand was carried out in a reserve area and water reservoir zone which is prohibited by three laws. Moreover the sand was provided to its buyers without the relevant permit and invoice papers, and without payment of taxes, etc.

Mr Goncharov showed a filming team from TV Channel ICTV the place where the sand was being removed thanks to which the police were called and the illegal extraction (essentially theft) was stopped. The next day, the filming crew of this channel went to the site together with representatives of the Kyiv Environmental-Cultural Centre who gave an environmental assessment of the sand extraction. We took the decision to also look into other firms illegally taking sand from the Zhukiv Island.

However the very next day, Olexei Goncharov, a pensioner, was murdered. There are all grounds for assuming that he was the victim of criminal business structures (most likely with the help of State structures who gave the bandits his address) which are doing business in Kyiv through the illegal extraction of sand and through the murder of A.L. Goncharov have decided to intimidate other environmental activists and journalists who demand that the authorities establish some order.

We should add that the deceased had for several years made complaints to no avail about the illegal extraction of sand on Zhukiv Island (which he lived near) to the police and various authorities in the district and city. It was only the involvement of television journalists which made it possible to close one of the places where sand was illegally extracted.

We are absolutely outraged by the criminal lawlessness which is openly ruling in Kyiv where they have begun killing defenders of nature in broad daylight and at their homes. We are concerned that if we do not draw the public’s attention to this that the murderers will not be found and punished. We consider that if we do not severely punish the murders then tomorrow any defender of nature or journalists writing on environmental issues could die at the hands of the Kyiv criminal world. We demand that the Kyiv authorities finally put an end to the “sand” lawlessness on Zhukiv Island and reinstate reserve status on the entire territory.

Directorate of the Kyiv Environmental-Cultural Centre

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