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A Timeline Of The Gongadze Case

Heorhiy Gongadze (AFP) The son of a Georgian politician and a Ukrainian mother, Heorhiy Gongadze studied in Lviv before starting in journalism in Georgia. In April 2000, he co-founded the newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda ("Ukrainian Truth"), publishing it online in an effort to avoid pressure from the government and businessmen. The newspaper soon produced a range of investigative articles about Ukraine's oligarchs and commentaries critical of the administration.

January 2006
Trial of three former policemen charged with killing Gongadze begins.

November 2005
The European Court of Human Rights awards Gongadze's wife 100,000 euros in damages, ruling that the Ukrainian authorities had done too little to protect Gongadze, or to investigate his death.

October 2005
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe raises reservations about the handling of the case.
Yuschenko fires Piskun.

March 2005
President Yushchenko announces on 1 March that the suspected killers are in custody. Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun says two Interior Ministry policemen strangled Gongadze.

A key witness in the Gongadze case, former Interior Minister Kravchenko, is found dead on 4 March. Authorities say he committed suicide. He had two gunshot wounds, to the chin and temple. A suicide note blames Kuchma for Gongadze's death.

June 2004
Government says a gangster identified only as "K" had confessed to killing Gongadze.

August 2003
A prime suspect, Ihor Honcharov, dies in police custody. His body is cremated before the cause of death is announced.

May 2003
Local prosecutor convicted of abuse of office and falsification of evidence in the Gongadze case. Senior Interior Ministry official arrested, but released two weeks later.

September 2002
Police break up street protests to mark the anniversary of Gongadze's death.

May 2001
Interior Minister Yuri Smirnov says Gongadze was killed by two "hooligans" with gangster links. Both are already dead. The prosecutor-general refutes Smirnov's claims.

April 2001
Government led by Viktor Yushchenko falls after losing a vote of confidence.

December 2000 – February 2001
Demonstrations in Kyiv attract crowds of up to 100,000 people. Despite the cold, some sleep in tents. In February, Kuchma sacks the head of the secret services and the head of his team of bodyguards. Police eventually break up the demonstrations.

November 2000
Gongadze's headless body is found on 2 November on the side of a forest road some 70 km from Kiev.

The prosecutor suggests the body may not be Gongadze's. It is eventually officially identified in March 2003.

On 28 November, the Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz publicizes tapes secretly recorded by a former presidential bodyguard (later identified as Major Mykola Melnychenko) that capture Kuchma saying: "Drive him [Gongadze] out! Throw him out! Give him to the Chechens!"

Kuchma threatens legal charges. He later admits the voice is his, but says the tapes have been doctored. The tape excerpts relating to Gongadze are later authenticated by a U.S. expert.

September 2000
Gongadze disappears on 16 September. Kuchma orders an inquiry on 21 September. The Ukrainian parliament sets up a special commission.

June 2000
Gongadze complains of harassment by the secret police.

The Melnychenko Tapes

The Melnychenko Tapes

The Melnychenko tapes, some of which were transcribed and published on the Internet, have never been officially recognized as genuine in Ukraine. On the contrary, the former government of President Leonid Kuchma has made many attempts to put their authenticity in doubt and suggest that they were doctored to compromise Kuchma and other top-ranking Ukrainian officials. Which is no surprise -- the Melnychenko tapes suggest that Kuchma might at least have inspired former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko to abduct Georgian-born Heorhiy Gongadze, founder and editor in chief of the "Ukrayinska pravda" muckraking and investigative website in Ukraine, and "drive him out to Georgia" or hand him over to "the Chechens." Here we present translated excerpts from the tapes dealing with the Gongadze case....(more)

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