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Bulgarian Court Approves Extradition To Ukraine Of Acid Attack Suspect

Handzyuk was an anti-corruption campaigner.

A Bulgarian court has approved the extradition of a Ukrainian man suspected of co-organizing an acid attack on a Ukrainian activist that eventually led to her death.

The February 22 ruling on Ukrainian national Oleksiy Moskalenko (Levin) was based on an extradition request from Ukrainian Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Trepak.

Moskalenko, 42, was detained in the Black Sea coastal city of Burgas on January 24 without resistance and was identified by his fingerprints, Bulgarian police said. He was wearing a disguise that differed from the picture included on the red Interpol notice issued by Ukraine.

Bulgarian police said the suspect crossed by foot into Bulgaria from Romania in 2018 and was living in an apartment rented by a woman from Ukraine.

On July 31, 2018, an assailant poured acid on Ukrainian activist Kateryna Handzyuk in Kherson, a city 560 kilometers south of Kyiv. She died of her injuries three months later.

An official in the city council and an adviser to Kherson’s mayor, Handzyuk often spoke out against public corruption in the city.

Investigators say she was killed for accusing local politicians of stealing from the local budget and of illegal logging in the region.

Five men were convicted last August and sentenced to prison for carrying out the attack.

Moskalenko is charged with “intended grievous bodily injury, which caused [the] death of the victim,” according to the Interpol notice.

With reporting by Hromadske and Ukrayinska Pravda