Ukraine to set up a monument to slain journalist

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KIEV, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - A monument to murdered Ukrainian journalists including Georgiy Gongadze, who was killed in 2000, will be unveiled in Kiev in August, the city's administration announced Monday.

Gongadze, known for his criticism of the Ukrainian government, was kidnapped on September 16, 2000, and his decapitated body was found two months later in a wood near Kiev. The circumstances of his death became a national scandal and sparked protests against the government of then-President Leonid Kuchma.

The decree to create the monument to Gongadze and other murdered Ukrainian journalists was signed by the city's mayor, Leonid Chernovetskiy, in February, the UNIAN agency reported.

"We should remember the role of journalists in the development of society and prevent similar tragedies from occurring," deputy mayor Vitaly Zhuravskiy said.

Three suspects in the case - Colonel Valeriy Kostenko, Colonel Mykola Protasov, and Major Oleksandr Popovych, all senior Interior Ministry officers, were arrested in August 2005. On March 15, a court gave 12-year sentences to Kostenko and Popovych, while Prostasov was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

The officers, while admitting to the charges, said the killing was carried out on orders from Oleksa Pukach, who was the Interior Ministry's general responsible for surveillance of Gongadze at the time of the kidnapping.

Pukach evaded arrest and fled to Israel several years ago. He is on Ukraine's most-wanted list.

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