A Ukrainian court on Tuesday sentenced a former police chief to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist Georgy Gongadze. The action which took place in September 2000 sparked international outrage.

Ex-police, Alexei Pukach, said that it was not a deliberate act, but that he only wanted to “intimidate?? the reporter by choking him with a belt and “accidentally?? broke Gongadze’s cervical vertebrae, according to media reports.

Pukach added that he acted on the orders of then interior minister Yury Kravchenko.
Three accomplices have already been sentenced to between 12 to 13 years imprisonment.

The former president, Leonid Kuchma, 1994 to 2005 was also implicated in the crime, but that case collapsed because of inadmissible evidence.

Gongadze, an outspoken Kuchma critic in an era when the media was largely government-controlled, was murdered in a forest outside Kiev on September 17, 2000.

His burnt and decapitated body was discovered in woodlands outside the capital several weeks after his disappearance.


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