BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 16:01 GMT
Headless journalist 'identified'
Kiev demonstration, 19 December
Protests have called for the president's resignation
Ukraine's chief prosecutor has told parliament that a headless body at the centre of a major political scandal is almost certainly that of missing journalist Georgy Gongadze.

Mikhailo Potebenko said experts were 99.66% certain of the identification, following DNA tests, but he called for further analysis.

President Leonid Kuchma
Mr Kuchma: Accusations are a 'provocation'
A former presidential bodyguard and an opposition politician have alleged that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma ordered the journalist's assassination, and there have been mass demonstrations calling for his resignation.

Mr Kuchma has denied the allegations, and the authorities have staged counter-demonstrations in his support.

Mr Gongadze, aged 31, was the editor of an online newspaper, Ukrainska Pravda, that had been outspokenly critical of Mr Kuchma.

He disappeared in September.

US concern

The body was discovered on the outskirts of the village of Tarashcha, north of Kiev, two months later.

Poster bearing silhouette of Georgy Gongadze's head
Ukrainian journalists demand that Georgy Gongadze be found
A local coroner's report on the body, which apparently identifies it as Mr Gongadze's, was never officially released.

The allegations of Mr Kuchma's involvement in the case rest on audio tapes, in which a voice is heard urging that Mr Gongadze should be "abducted by Chechens".

Mr Potebenko told parliament that it was impossible to determine whether the tapes were genuine, because they contained "editing, removals or inserts of separate fragments, words and sounds, and were of low quality".

The former bodyguard who released the tapes, Mykola Melnichenko, has been charged with slander and forgery.

On Tuesday a Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating Mr Gongadze's disappearance accused prosecutors of eliminating evidence linked to the case.

The same day, the US State Department said any friend of Ukraine had to follow the Gongadze affair "with concern", and called for a "speedy and transparent" investigation.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

29 Nov 00 | Media reports
Death, lies and audiotape - Ukraine-style
19 Sep 00 | Media reports
Outspoken Ukraine journalist missing
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories