Today the Kyiv Appeal Court began to interrogate witnesses in the case on accusation of three former policemen of committing the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

      According to an UNIAN correspondent, the first witness was chief editor of Ukrayinska Pravda Internet-newspaper Olena Prytula. She told about her relations with G.Gongadze before he disappeared, and about the developments after his disappearance and till the end of the year 2000.

      In addition, the court studied and added to the materials of the case the statement-letter of journalist’s mother Lessia Gongadze, with which she informed the board of judges that she stopped her collaboration with lawyer Andriy Fedur.

L.Gongadze said in the letter that she does not want to bear witness on the case. Instead of her, another her lawyer, former Justice Minister Serhiy Holovayi, will answer in court to all the questions.

      Neither L.Gongadze, nor journalist’s widow Myroslava Gongadze, were present in court, although they were informed about the date when the hearing resumes. In addition, due to unknown reasons, S.Holovatyi was also absent in court.

      The judges decided to prolong the hearing today, because the above-mentioned people were absent.

      In addition, the court informed those present at the session that during the two-months interval, one of the accused, Mykola Protasov, complained about his health, and was taken for a medical examination to the Cardiology Institute named after Strazhesko. On the results of medical tests, he was given a third category of disablement, because of his essential hypertension.

      M.Gongadze’s lawyer Valentyna Telychenko, answering questions of journalists during the interval I the trial, said that, brining in a verdict on the accused, the court will take into account all the circumstances, including their biography, state of health, etc. But, she stressed, taking into account does not mean reducing.

“Actually, in line with the law, this [M.Protasov’s disablement] gives nothing to him. He may only hope for smoothing his punishment”, she said.