: UPDATED: Ukrainian journalist whose murder helped precipitate Orange revolution buried in Kyiv
Society20:28 Mar. 23, 2016

UPDATED: Ukrainian journalist whose murder helped precipitate Orange revolution buried in Kyiv

Georgiy Gongadze laid to rest 16 years after his murder

The remains of Ukrainian investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze have been laid to rest 16 years after his murder.

The burial of Georgian-born Gongadze, the founder of online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda, was delayed in part due to his mother's unwillingness to accept that the decapitated body was actually her son.

His funeral took place amid growing disappointment that Ukraine's current leaders have not followed through on pledges they made during Ukraine's EuroMaidan revolution two years ago; pledges to reform the country and pledges to tackle corruption, subjects Gongadze spent his life exposing.

Read also Gongadze Murder: 15 years on and mastermind still at large

Hundreds of mourners queued to squeeze into the Orthodox green-and-white church in Kyiv to listen to the funeral mass.

Yevhen Hlibovytsky, Gongadze's Friend: "For the family and for the friends for a long time, the risk was that once the body is buried the Gongadze case will be buried as well and that is something that was important to avoid."

The finger of suspicion has for years been pointed at former President Leonid Kuchma. Kuchma was widely accused of involvement in the killing after the publication of a tape on which a voice sounding like his spoke about the need to deal with Gongadze. 


The lit candles and banner held by Ukrainians at Independence Square during a rally devoted for the memory of all fallen Ukrainian journalists, on the 15th death anniversary of Georgiy Gongadze, 2015/09/16 (Getty Images)

Gongadze's killing led to mass protests against Kuchma's government in 2001, paving the way for the Orange Revolution three years later against a rigged presidential election contested by Kuchma's ally Viktor Yanukovych.

A court has ruled that the murder was carried out by a gang of policemen who beat up Gongadze and then killed him. Oleksiy Pukach, a senior police officer convicted in 2013, said they had accidentally killed Gongadze while strangling him with a belt and decided to behead him afterwards.

Read also Ukrainian court upholds guilty verdict against Gongadze's killer

Pukach said he had acted on orders from a former interior minister, Yuri Kravchenko. Kravchenko was found dead, shot twice in the head in 2005, in what was officially described as a suicide, as he was about to be questioned over the Gongadze case.

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