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Ukrainian Scientists Seek To Identify Remains Of Slain Journalist

Slain journalist Heorhiy Gongadze
Slain journalist Heorhiy Gongadze
KYIV -- Forensics experts in Ukraine are trying to identify fragments of a human skull found in the Bilotserkivski district of Kyiv Oblast, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The investigators suspect that the remains are those of independent journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, who was abducted and beheaded by unknown assailants in 2000.

On July 22, former Ukrainian police official Oleksiy Pukach was detained and confessed that he was directly involved in Gongadze's killing. He cooperated with investigators and showed them a site where Gongadze’s head might be.

Ukrainian authorities officially charged Pukach with manslaughter on July 24.

Valentyna Telichenko, the lawyer for Gongadze’s widow Miroslava, told RFE/RL that even if the skull is confirmed to be the journalist’s, there is no guarantee that other individuals involved in the murder would be prosecuted.

Gongadze’s relatives and their lawyers believe that he was killed because of his journalism work.