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Ukrainian Prosecutors Target Kuchma-Era Officials

A monument to slain journalist Gongadze 9 October 2005 -- Ukrainian prosecutors have opened a criminal case against officials of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's administration, accusing them of hampering the investigation into the killing of a journalist.

The Prosecutor-General's Office made the announcement today in a statement in Kyiv but declined to identify the individuals targeted.

The case concerns the 2003 dismissal of chief prosecutor Svyatoslav Piskun, who has been accused of hindering the probe into the 2000 killing of Heorhiy Gongadze, a journalist who crusaded against high-level corruption.

Piskun, now chief prosecutor under President Viktor Yushchenko, has said he was forced out by Kuchma's government because of progress in the probe into the killing.

Earlier this year, prosecutors indicted three former policemen in connection with Gongadze's death. A fourth suspect remains at large.