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Former official held in Ukraine murder case

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Former official held in Ukraine murder case

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Nine years after the killing of investigative reporter Georgy Gongadze sparked a political crisis in Ukraine, a leading suspect has been arrested. A fugitive former government official already charged in absentia with the murder was detained in the north of the country. Oleksiy Pukach has reportedly admitted involvement in the killing. Ukraine’s Security Services say other top state officials are implicated too.

The headless body of Gongadze, a fierce critic of then-president Leonid Kuchma, was found in a wood outside Kiev two months after he disappeared in 2000. Three policemen were sentenced to long jail terms for the murder but it was never established who ordered it. Kuchma always denied any involvement. Anger over the murder paved the way for Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. President Viktor Yushchenko made solving Gongadze’s murder a key priority when he came to power.