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The BBC's Stephen Dalziel
"There are serious reasons to suspect that there could be two bodies"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
Headless corpse 'is missing journalist'
Demonstrators call for resignation of President Kuchma
President Kuchma has faced mounting calls to resign
Ukrainian prosecutors say US forensic tests confirm that a headless body found near Kiev last November is that of missing campaigning journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

Revealing the results of their analysis, Deputy State Prosecutor Mykola Harnik said US experts had established a positive match between the journalist's DNA and that of the corpse.

The results of a forensic and DNA examination carried out jointly with the Americans... show that the body is that of Gongadze

Prosecutor's office
These results confirm earlier Russian tests. Those had been thrown into doubt when analysis on different samples carried out in Germany came up negative.

The presumed murder of Mr Gongadze has led to months of political turmoil in Ukraine, threatening to topple President Leonid Kuchma.

Georgiy Gongadze
Gongadze: Conflicting reports on his death
Tape recordings made in the president's office shortly before Mr Gongadze went missing last September allegedly reveal Mr Kuchma saying that he wanted Mr Gongadze dealt with.

After initially denying the authenticity of the tapes, Mr Kuchma now admits that they are genuine, but claims they have been edited to change what he said.

Two bodies?

The latest tests to establish the corpse's identity were carried out in the United States on samples taken by US officials last month from the body held in a Kiev mortuary.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation DNA expert and a US Armed Forces forensic pathologist compared them with saliva samples from Mr Gongadze's daughters.

The results bear out testimony from the journalist's mother, who has already identified the remains as those of her son.

President Kuchma
Kuchma: Denies ordering Gongadze's murder
Mr Harnik said, however, that the experts had failed to determine the exact cause of death owing to the length of time elapsed and the absence of the head.

But he could confirm that death had occurred two to three months before the body was found in woods near the capital in November.

Mr Harnik conceded that it would be difficult to investigate the case without the cause of death being established.

But he added: "I cannot say that this case has reached a dead end."

BBC Ukraine analyst Stephen Dalziel says one of the key questions facing the inquiry is why the German tests produced a different result.

He says there are grounds to suspect that the samples sent to Germany were from a second body, which had also been decapitated and had identifiable marks removed.

He says there are likely to be still louder calls for Mr Kuchma to ensure that this question is answered.

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See also:

10 Jan 01 | Europe
Headless journalist 'identified'
11 Feb 01 | Europe
Analysis: Kuchma under pressure
23 Feb 01 | Europe
Ukraine seeks FBI help
12 Feb 01 | Europe
Ukraine crisis timeline
19 Feb 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Ukraine's air of unrest
29 Nov 00 | Media reports
Death, lies and audiotape - Ukraine-style
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