Pukach changes testimony in Gongadze murder trial
Former Police General Oleksy Pukach who is charged over the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze in September 2000 is claiming to the court that “he was saving Ukraine from a dangerous spy who was threatening Ukraine’s statehood”. Lawyer Valentina Telychenko who is representing Georgy Gongadze’s widow, Myroslava Gongadze told the BBC Ukrainian Service that it is this position which Pukach has been taking at the court hearings which are continuing behind closed doors at the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv.
“Pukach’s testimony is full of contradictions. On one occasion he very consistently argues that he was obeying an order from above, another, that he killed the journalist because the latter, he claimed, was a spy and posed a danger to the state. He’s pushing both versions at one and the same time”.
Ms Telychenko also said that Pukach has not once expressed regret over what he did and when the subject of those who ordered the killing comes up, he acts as though he doesn’t know why there was such an order.
In August last year Valentina Telychenko asserted that Pukach named former President Kuchma, Ex-Interior Minister Kravhchenko, the then Head of the President’s Administration (and now Parliamentary Speaker) Volodymyr Lytvyn and First Deputy Interior Minister Mykola Dzhyha as those who ordered the killing.
On 24 April the Chief Editor of Ukrainska Pravda (Gongadze’s publication), Olena Prytula was questioned as a witness for 6 hours. Ms Telychenko said that Olena Prytula was only the first of 13 witnesses, however could not give their names as the court has deemed this information also secret. She said only that the witnesses were both former and current intelligence and police officers.
She said that she would be lodging an application to call extra witnesses, including high-ranking officials. She explained that she does not believe the state prosecution has invited all necessary witnesses and believes others are need to establish the motives which prompted Oleksy Pukach.
The next hearing is scheduled for 23 May.