Handziuk murder: Raids underway in Kherson region in deadly acid attack probe
Operatives with the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) and the SBU Security Service of Ukraine are conducting a number of searches and other investigative actions to get new evidence in criminal proceedings into the murder of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk.
The raid was launched in the сity of Kherson and other settlements across the region "to suppress the activities of a criminal organization" engaged in acts of violence and arson, according to the PGO's website.
"Suspicion was reported to the head of the criminal organization, who is a former aide to a Ukrainian MP of previous convocations. It should be noted the indictment against the specified individual is already being considered by Odesa's Prymorskiy district court," read the report.
Law enforcers are now pressing charges against other members of the criminal organization, the report says.
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 October 3, Ukraine's PGO replaced a group of prosecutors in the Handziuk murder case.