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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Kuchma 'behind reporter's kidnap'
Former Ukrainian leader Leonid Kuchma. Archive picture
Mr Kuchma has said his conscience is clear
Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was one of the organisers of the abduction of a prominent reporter, a parliamentary commission believes.

Georgiy Gongadze disappeared in September 2000 and his headless body was found in a wood two months later.

The head of the commission probing the murder, Grygoriy Omelchenko, told MPs his colleagues "unanimously identified" Mr Kuchma as the kidnap's organiser.

Mr Kuchma - who was Ukraine's president until 2004 - denies any involvement.

Georgiy Gongadze
Georgiy Gongadze was investigating alleged corruption

Mr Omelchenko also said that the commission had unanimously recommended that Mr Kuchma and two of his senior officials at the time should face criminal charges in connection with the organisation and instigation of Gongadze's abduction.

The discovery of Gongadze's body outside Kiev triggered a political scandal, especially after the emergence of a covertly recorded tape that allegedly implicated Mr Kuchma.

In the tapes, Mr Kuchma was heard to complain about Gongadze's reporting and allegedly ordered his interior minister to "get rid of" the journalist.

Mr Kuchma says the tapes have been edited to distort his words.


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