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Kyiv court jails man accused of plotting Babchenko's murder

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
Kyiv court jails man accused of plotting Babchenko's murder
Copyright  REUTERS/Volodymyr Hontar   -  

A Kyiv court jailed the man accused of organising the murder of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko.

Vasyl Hrystak, head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), said on Saturday that Borys Herman had been sentenced to four and a half years of prison after he was found guilty of plotting Babchenko’s murder along with Russia’s secret services, reported RFERL.

Herman pleaded guilty and cooperated with authorities, said Hrystak.

Last May, Babchenko sent shockwaves around the world by appearing at the SBU headquarters in Kyiv a day after he was pronounced dead by Ukrainian authorities.

The Russian journalist and Kremlin-critic faked his own death to foil a murder plot against him.

Herman, a Ukrainian businessman, was arrested last May on suspicion of helping organise the murder plot.

He allegedly offered Oleksiy Tsymbaliuk, a former Ukrainian Orthodox priest, money to kill Babchenko. But Tsymbaliuk went to SBU after Herman approached him, according to RFERL. 

Kyiv’s security services received heavy criticism from media watchdogs and other journalists for staging Babchenko's death. Christophe Deloire the secretary general of Reporters Without Borders expressed his deepest indignation and highlighted how dangerous it was for governments to play with facts.

Babchenko was initially said to have been found bleeding at the entrance to a block of flats by his wife and to have died in an ambulance en route to a hospital.

He fled Russia in 2017 after receiving death threats over a post he made on social media.

Additional sources • RFERL