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Court challenges arraigning of Kuchma in journalist murder case

December 14, 2011, 13:32 UTC+3
In November, Kuchma's lawyers appealed against the resolution to open criminal proceedings against their client
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KIEV, December 14 (Itar-Tass) — Kiev's Pechora district court acknowledged that the Prosecutor General's Office had no grounds to open a criminal case against former President Leonid Kuchma on charges of involvement in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze.

The court said so in a resolution on Wednesday, thus meeting the appeal by Kuchma's lawyers against the decision by Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin to initiate criminal proceedings against the former president.

"The court found no grounds which would point at Kuchma's involvement in the commission of the serious crime," the resolution said.

The Prosecutor General's Office reopened the investigation into the criminal case on November 21. In late April, it announced that pre-trial investigation was completed. The case was not referred to a court because the injured parties were familiarizing themselves with the case materials.

In November, Kuchma's lawyers appealed against the resolution to open criminal proceedings against their client.

Gongadze disappeared in Kiev on September 16, 2000. Two months later, his body was found in a forest near the town of Tarashcha, Kiev region.

Former major of State Guards Service Nikolai Melnichenko released the audio files he had allegedly recorded in Kuchma's office. On one of the recordings, a voice, resembling Kuchma's, gives an order to "have it out" with the journalist.

The ex-president flatly denied his involvement in the murder.

After the so-called cassette scandal, Melnichenko fled abroad.

 

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