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Key suspect in Gongadze murder detained


The Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Wednesday morning that former Police Colonel and Head of a Criminal Investigation Department Oleksy Pukach had been arrested in the Zhytomyr Region.

The Press Service stated that Pukach had been detached in a joint operation by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the SBU [Security Service] and that he was already being questioned by investigators.

In October 2003 Pukach was detained on suspicion of destroying documents which showed that journalist Georgy Gongadze had been under surveillance, and following his release from custody in November following an Appeal Court ruling, disappeared. At the beginning of 2005 he was accused in his absence of being the main executor of the journalist’s murder.

According to the investigators, he is accused of having organized surveillance of the journalist and headed a group of police officers (Valentin Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Oleksandr Popovych) who abducted Gongadze on 16 September 2000 and took him to a forest in the Kyiv region.

The investigation team believes that Pukach himself strangled the journalist and forced his accomplices to silence, and then possibly buried the body.

From information at

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