Handziuk murder case: Ukraine's PGO replaces prosecutors
The Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine has replaced a group of prosecutors in the case of the murder of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk.
A newly formed group of prosecutors has updated a pretrial investigation plan in the respective criminal proceedings, according to the PGO's press service. The pretrial investigation is underway.
UNIAN memo. Kherson activist, advisor 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 had been dropped. On May 7, 2019, the Prosecutor General's Office sent an indictment against five defendants in the case of the murder: Mykyta Hrabchuk, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, Serhiy Torbin, and Viktor Horbunov. On June 6, the court announced their sentences.
Torbin, the organizer of the murder, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison. Hrabchuk, the actual perpetrator of the crime, was sentenced to six years in prison. Accused of aiding, Vasyanovych and Horbunov were sentenced to four and three years in prison, respectively; accomplice Vishnevsky's sentence is four years' imprisonment. Oleksiy Levin, who has a criminal record, as well as Chairman of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger and Ihor Pavlovsky, who was an assistant to MP from the Petro Poroshenko's Bloc Mykola Palamarchuk, are also figures in the Handziuk murder case.
Moreover, public activists believe that former Chairman of Kherson Regional State Administration Andriy Gordeev and former Deputy Chairman of Kherson Regional State Administration Yevhen Ryshchuk were involved in the crime.
On June 19, the murdered activist's father published an open letter on Facebook, asking President Volodymyr Zelensky about a confidential meeting with him and activists of the 'Who Ordered Katya Handziuk?' Movement. Zelensky responded to the letter and agreed to meet.
On July 29, Handziuk's father told reporters about an encouraging meeting with the president: "The former president lacked political will. After meeting with the new president, I think that he has enough political will in this issue."
On August 16, Pavlovsky, his lawyer and prosecutor did not appear at the hearing in Odesa's Prymorsky District Court and it was postponed until August 22. On August 22, Pavlovsky and his lawyer did not appear at the hearing again and it was rescheduled for October 3.