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Investigators suspect military medic Yana Duhar and two other people of involvement in the killing of the journalist Pavel Sheremet in Kyiv.

Lawyers of a Ukrainian Army medic suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet say they have "additional proof" that their client had nothing to do with the high-profile killing.

Sheremet was killed on July 20, 2016, when an improvised explosive device planted under the vehicle he was driving exploded.

Investigators suspect military medic Yana Duhar and two other people of involvement in the killing, all of them with ties to the war taking place in eastern Ukraine.

Duhar's lawyers, Mykola Orekhovskiy and Vitaliy Kolomiyets, told reporters in Kyiv on February 7 that they provided the Prosecutor-General's Office with materials that "prove" their client had not been involved in Sheremet's assassination.

The materials included the results of a lie detector test, they said.

The lawyers said the investigators had "mistakenly" identified a person recorded on CCTV camera monitoring Sheremet's apartment block a day before his killing as their client.

Independent forensic tests "proved that the person on the tape is 10 centimeters higher" than Duhar, they said.

Sheremet was a Belarusian-born Russian citizen who had made Kyiv his permanent home.

His killing underscored concerns of a climate of impunity for attacks on journalists and others who challenge the Ukrainian authorities, while the government has faced persistent criticism over a perceived lack of progress in solving the case.

Journalist Pavel Sheremet Killed By Car Bomb In Kyiv
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Those suspected in the case also include former special operations Sergeant Andriy Antonenko and pediatric surgeon and volunteer Yuliya Kuzmenko.

Police have also named a couple as persons of interest in the investigation: Inna and Vladyslav Hryshchenko.

On January 30, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said additional evidence is needed for the case as "the volume of compiled evidence isn’t enough."

Sheremet's mother, Lyudmila Sheremet, told RFE/RL in December that she did not know if the suspects are guilty or not, but she was afraid "that innocent people may be hurt" as officials try to show they're making headway in the case.

Tajik journalist Daler Sharifov (file photo)

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Tajikistan to immediately release independent journalist Daler Sharifov from custody, drop the "absurd" incitement charges against him, and allow him to continue his reporting.

"Tajik officials have already driven nearly all independent voices out of the country, so this prosecution is a clear attempt to silence ahead of elections one of the few media critics that remain," Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in a statement on February 6.

Sharifov, who often writes about domestic politics and is known for his criticism of Tajikistan’s authorities, has been in custody since January 28, relatives told RFE/RL.

Police also searched his apartment in the capital, Dushanbe, and confiscated a computer and several books.

A court ruled on January 30 to place the 32-year-old journalist in pretrial detention for two months, according to his lawyer, Abdurahmon Sharifov, who is no relation.

The Prosecutor-General's Office later announced that Sharifov had been charged with inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred.

The charges stemmed from "more than 200 articles and commentaries containing extremist content" Sharifov published between 2013 and 2019, it said.

He could be jailed for up to five years if found guilty.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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