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Ukraine's Election Body Turns Down Melnychenko Appeal

4 June 2005 -- Ukraine's Central Election Commission has turned down an appeal filed by Mykola Melnychenko, a former bodyguard to ex-President Leonid Kuchma, to overturn an earlier decision barring him from running as a parliamentary candidate.

The decision was reached yesterday.

Melnychenko was excluded from the list of candidates nominated by Ukraine's Socialist Party in the run-up to the 2002 elections.

Last October, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the decision was illegal and awarded Melnychenko 5,000 euros for nonpecuniary damage. But Ukraine's Supreme Court later upheld the decision to deny Melnychenko registration as a parliamentary candidate.

Four years ago, Melnychenko claimed he had made secret recordings purportedly showing that Kuchma was linked to the 2000 assassination of independent journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.

(Ukrainska Pravda/Interfax-ukraina)