The alleged organizer of the attempted murder of Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk, Ihor Pavlovsky, has pleaded guilty.
He asked the court to authorize the plea bargain during hearings at Odesa's Prymorsky district court on September 16.
Pavlovsky is accused of concealing the crime. If his plea agreement is accepted, the suspect's sentence will be reduced.
"I've signed the agreement voluntarily, I am ready to fulfill all the conditions and give evidence," he said.
Handziuk case in brief
- Pavlovsky signed a respective agreement on testifying against the organizers of the murder, so he was charged under Part 1 of Article 396 of the Criminal Code ("concealment of crime").
- The Pavlovsky case was singled out into a separate case and sent for consideration to Odesa's Prymorsky district court.
- Since July 2019, the court had been unable to start hearings over the failure of Pavlovsky or his lawyers, or the prosecutor to appear in the courtroom.
- 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 acid attack. 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.
- 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, 2019, 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 Mykola Palamarchuk, are also suspects in the Handziuk murder case.
- 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 also involved in the crime.
- On January 20, 2020, Pavlovsky was detained in Kherson on suspicion of another case regarding the creation of a criminal organization; on January 21, Kyiv's Pechersky District Court placed Pavlovsky under custody.
- On January 27, Levin was taken into police custody in Bulgaria's Burgas for a 40-day term after detention on January 24. On February 22, the Burgas court ruled to extradite Levin to Ukraine. He was extradited on March 16 and Kyiv's Pechersky district court on March 17 ruled that he should be remanded in custody until April 2. On March 25, Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district court extended the pretrial probe into the Handziuk case until July 29.
- On April 27, the SBU Security Service of Ukraine reported it had completed its pretrial investigation into the acid attack on Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk and materials of the case would be forwarded to court. As per the investigation, Chairman of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger and Oleksiy Levin, an aide to a member of the same council, are suspected of ordering the crime.
- 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.
- This statement caused outrage among the victims, their lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska, and the public. They are convinced that evidence against Manger has not been collected and the case will fall apart in court.
- But Manger's defender, Dmytro Ilchenko, positively assessed the transfer of the Handziuk case to court. He argued that materials of the criminal case regarding the murder of the activist did not mention his client.
- Manger and Levin are charged with offenses under Part 3 of Article 27, Part 2 of Article 28, and Part 2 of Article 121 of the Criminal Code ("intentional grievous bodily harm in a manner bearing the nature of special torment and resulting in the death of the victim").
- On August 28, the first hearings took place to consider the case against Manger and Levin on the merits. Under a court ruling, they remained in custody until October 18.