Former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma charged with 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze.
The circumstances of Georgiy Gongadze’s death became a national scandal and a focus for protests against the government of the then President, Leonid Kuchma, in 2000.
During the Nixonesque ‘Cassette Scandal,’ audiotapes were released on which top officials of the Kuchma administration are heard discussing the need to silence Gongadze for his online news reports about high-level corruption.
When Gongadze disappeared foulplay was suspected immediately.
80 journalists signed an open letter to President Kuchma urging an investigation and complaining that:
“during the years of Ukrainian independence, not a single high-profile crime against journalists has been fully resolved.”
Journalist Georgiy Gongadze was found beheaded in a ditch in a suburb near Kiev.
Now, 11 years later, Ex Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has been formally charged for “giving illegal orders to police that led to the death of Gongadze.”
“I have been served with charges… “I have not yet read them from beginning to end,” he said in televised remarks, capping off the week-long probe into the incident.
Prosecutors opened the criminal investigation after ruling that an audio tape that incriminates Kuchma could be submitted as evidence, and barred him from leaving the country.
Kuchma responded by saying, “this is nothing new.”
Kuchma has been linked to at least two other cases of murdered journalists during his presidency from 1994-2005. In this sense, ‘No, Mr. Kuchma, this is NOTHING NEW.”