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Ukraine's Kuchma 'Charged' After Questioning On Gongadze Murder

Former President Leonid Kuchma arrives at the Prosecutor-General's Office in Kyiv on March 23.
Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma has said that he has been charged in connection with the 2000 death of investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.

Ukraine's Prosecutor-General's Office on March 22 opened a criminal case against the 72-year-old Kuchma on suspicion of involvement in the murder and decapitation of Gongadze.

Kuchma told journalists after being questioned by prosecutors today, "I have been charged."

Kuchma, who was president from 1994 to early 2005, did not give any indication of the precise charges brought against him before being driven away.

On March 23, Kuchma denied any involvement in the murder.

Heorhiy Gongadze (file photo)
Gongadze was kidnapped in September 2000. His headless body was later found buried in a shallow grave in a forest near Kyiv.

Rights groups have long accused Kuchma of being behind the murder.

Gongadze's investigative reports exposed high-level government corruption in Kyiv. He also was a frequent critic of Kuchma.

compiled from agency reports