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Dozens Of Activists Protest Ukrainian Anticorruption Activist's Unsolved Killing

Graffiti on a wall in Kherson commemorating the activist Kateryna Handzyuk who was fatally attacked in the city on July 31, 2019.
Graffiti on a wall in Kherson commemorating the activist Kateryna Handzyuk who was fatally attacked in the city on July 31, 2019.

Several dozen people on August 1 staged a protest outside the building of Ukraine's Security Service in Kyiv over the lack of progress in the investigation into the death of a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist.

Kateryna Handzyuk, a 33-year-old civic activist and adviser to the mayor of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, died in November -- three months after she was severely injured in an acid attack on July 31 last year.

Activists lit flares and shouted "Who ordered the attack on Katya Handzyuk?"

The protest came after a decision last month by Ukraine's prosecutor-general to suspend an investigation into the role of a high-ranking regional official charged in Handzyuk's death.

Prosecutors in February arrested Vladyslav Manher, head of the regional council in the southern region of Kherson, and charged him with ordering the Handzyuk attack.

Manher was later released on bail. He has denied any involvement into the attack.

In a July 25 statement, the Prosecutor-General's Office announced that the probe into Manher and a second suspect, Oleksiy Levin, had been suspended because Levin's whereabouts remain unknown.

The statement said Manher and Levin's involvement in the case is interconnected, and cited this as the basis for suspending the legal provisions of Ukraine's Criminal Procedural Code.

The Human Rights Protection Group, a Ukrainian rights watchdog, has questioned the prosecutor-general's move, arguing that Manher's whereabouts are known.

In June, five men were sentenced to prison terms of between three and 6 and 1/2 years for organizing and executing the attack after they pleaded guilty and made deals with investigators.

Human rights activists have accused Ukrainian law enforcement agencies of failing to thoroughly investigate the growing number of attacks on activists, and even of collusion with the perpetrators in some cases.

With reporting by Gordon, Ukrayinska Pravda, and UNIAN
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