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Ukrainian Prosecutor Submits Resignation As Acid-Attack Activist's Funeral Held


Ukrainians Mourn Slain Activist Targeted In Acid Attack
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WATCH: Mourners paid their respects to slain Ukrainian activist Kateryna Handzyuk in the Black Sea port city of Kherson.

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko has submitted his resignation to President Petro Poroshenko amid public outrage over the handling of an investigation into an acid attack that killed anticorruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk, whose funeral was held the same day.

However, it remains uncertain whether Lutsenko will actually step down after Iryna Herashchenko, the first deputy parliament speaker, a day earlier said Poroshenko's governing coalition would not support his resignation and a later vote in parliament showed little support for his departure.

Larysa Sarhan, Lutsenko's press secretary, said the prosecutor's resignation letter was sent to the presidential office on November 7. Poroshenko has not publicly commented on whether he will accept the resignation and submit it to parliament for a vote.

Will Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko actually resign?
Will Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko actually resign?

Lutsenko had earlier said he would offer his resignation in order to eliminate concerns that he was "clinging to power."

Mustafa Nayyem, a prominent critic of the law enforcement authorities, called Lutsenko's resignation announcement a "lie" and a piece of politically motivated PR.

Less than five months before a presidential election, Lutsenko's surprise offer to resign added to the turmoil over the death of Handzyuk, whose assault underscored the risks faced by activists and journalists who challenge those holding power in Ukraine.

Handzyuk's death came amid a wave of attacks against Ukraine's civic activists, with rights campaigners claiming law enforcement agencies have failed to thoroughly investigate the cases and may even be complicit in some of the attacks.

Dozens of Ukrainian human rights groups and civic organizations have called for the resignation of the country's top law enforcement officials over the handling of the investigation into the case.

WATCH: A Ukrainian Activist's Deathbed Plea

A Ukrainian Activist's Deathbed Plea
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Meanwhile, a public viewing of Handzyuk's casket and funeral services were held in Kherson, the southern city where the activist known for scathing criticism of police corruption was doused with sulfuric acid outside of her home on July 31.

The 33-year-old died on November 4 at a Kyiv hospital where she was being treated for burns from the attack.

Five suspects, including a police officer, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the attack, but authorities have not yet described a potential motive for the attack.

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Lutsenko on November 6 as saying law enforcement agencies were looking into the possible involvement of 12 people suspected in ordering the attack.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Ukrayinska Pravda, the BBC, and UNIAN
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