Prosecutors of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) in Ukraine have sent an indictment to the court against Chairman of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger and Oleksiy Levin, an aide to a member of the same council, on the fact of ordering and organizing a fatal acid attack on Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk on July 31, 2018.
"A pretrial investigation has established Kherson Regional Council's chairman and a citizen extradited from Bulgaria to Ukraine, by prior conspiracy by a group of persons, organized an act to cause intentional grievous bodily harm with significant sufferings, which resulted in victim Kateryna Handziuk's death (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 2 of Article 28, Part 2 of Article 121 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)," as reported on the PGO's official website.
Read alsoHandziuk case: Suspect Manger to be kept in pretrial detention center until Sept 11
Currently, both men are in custody: the preventive measure against Manger has been extended until September 11, 2020, while Levin will stay behind bars until August 24, 2020.
Earlier, the court found five principal offenders who committed the attack on Handziuk guilty and sentenced them to imprisonment.
Under Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is presumed innocent of committing a crime and shall not be subjected to criminal punishment until his or her guilt is proved through legal procedure and established by a court verdict of guilty.
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 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. 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, 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. 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 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 court of the city of Burgas (Bulgaria) 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.