All five suspects in the case of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk's assassination have pleaded guilty and made a plea deal with the prosecutor.
The relevant statement was made at a hearing in the Pokrovskiy District Court in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region on May 3, RFE/RL's Ukrainian service wrote.
According to the prosecution, Serhiy Torbin, a suspect of organizing an attack on Handziuk, which was ordered by persons whose names had not been voiced, inclined the other defendants, namely Mykyta Hrabchuk, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, Vyacheslav Vishnevsky and Viktor Horbunov, to participate in the attempt.
When asked by judge Olena Chorna whether they admit their guilt and confirm their consent to make a plea deal with the investigation, the defendants answered in the affirmative.
Their lawyers said the deals comply with the current legislation.
The prosecution asks to sentence the accused to the following terms of imprisonment: six years and six months for Torbin, six years for Hrabchuk, four years for Vishnevsky and Vasyanovych each, and three years for Horbunov.
The court retired to the deliberation room for the adoption of the sentence. The next hearing is scheduled for June 6.
UNIAN memo. Kherson activist, adviser to the Mayor of Kherson and acting manager of affairs at Kherson City Council's executive committee Kateryna Handziuk, 33, on July 31, 2018, survived an act of acid throwing. She suffered burns to more than 35% of her body and underwent 11 operations in Kyiv. Handziuk died on November 4, 2018. The immediate cause of her death was a severed blood clot resulting from the acid attack.
Police originally qualified the attack as an attempted murder committed with extreme cruelty, then its status was changed to completed murder. Six suspects were detained, one of whom, Mykola Novikov, was later released from custody as charges against him were dropped. The alleged participant in the assassination, Serhiy Torbin, and Mykyta Hrabchuk, another suspect in the case, were remanded in custody. Three other suspects – Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, and Viktor Horbunov – were placed under house arrest. On November 5, the media reported that Torbin had allegedly received money for the attack on Handziuk from Ihor Pavlovsky, an assistant to Member of Parliament from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction Mykola Palamarchuk. Palamarchuk in turn dismissed any accusations of his possible involvement in the assassination attempt on the activist. He also said he had dismissed Pavlovsky. On November 12, a court ruled to detain Pavlovsky. According to the SBU Security Service, he is suspected of complicity in the Handziuk murder.
Chief Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko announced on December 3 that the investigators had identified all the individuals who had ordered the assassination. He also named Oleksiy Levin (his real second name is Moskalenko) who later was placed on the international wanted list on December 10, 2018, on suspicion of involvement in the Handziuk assassination.
Head of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger is charged with organizing the assassination.
On May 7, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine sent an indictment against five suspects in the case of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk's assassination to court.