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Gongadze Mother Says Son Used In Political Games

Heorhiy Gongadze was killed in 2000
Heorhiy Gongadze was killed in 2000
LVIV, UKRAINE -- The mother of slain Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy Gongadze says her son's name is being used by Ukrainian officials for political purposes, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Lesya Gongadze told RFE/RL that she has urged the government and other politicians to leave his name alone.

She said she has many doubts regarding the current investigation of her son's abduction and murder and is skeptical that former high-ranking police official General Oleksiy Pukach -- who was arrested in July -- personally strangled her son, as has been reported.

Gongadze also said she does not believe that the decapitated body kept in a morgue for nearly nine years is her son.

Last month, President Viktor Yushchenko said that an investigation into Heorhiy Gongadze's murder would affect Ukraine's January presidential election because organizers of the crime still hold high positions in the country.

Heorhiy Gongadze disappeared on September 16, 2000. A decapitated body believed to be his was found two months later in a forest outside of Kyiv.

This summer, fragments of a human skull were found near where Gongadze is believed to have been killed. Ukrainian forensic experts concluded that the skull fragments are from Gongadze.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Oleksandr Medvedko said today that additional forensic tests on the fragments will be performed in the United States.