Judge decides to hold Gongadze trial behind closed doors


first_img Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today that the judge in charge of the trial of three policemen accused of the 2000 murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze decided yesterday to exclude the press and public from the hearings and not to call politicians linked to the case as witnesses. January 24, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Judge decides to hold Gongadze trial behind closed doors March 26, 2021 Find out more News Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today that the judge in charge of the trial of three policemen accused of the 2000 murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze decided yesterday to exclude the press and public from the hearings and not to call politicians linked to the case as witnesses.Judge Irina Grigoryeva barred journalists from the Kiev court under article 40 of the criminal code, ruling that facts revealed by the defendants could be classified. The court will be closed when the three defendants and other witnesses testify and are cross-examined, and when the court gives its verdict.“The judge recognises the highly political nature of this trial and yet refuses to grant it the required transparency,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This decision is outrageous and confirms the worst fears one could have about the outcome of the Gongadze affair.”The press freedom organisation continued: “This trial is a test for Ukraine’s young democracy and its new president, Viktor Yushchenko. He was a source of hope in the country’s advance towards more freedom. But the former government officials involved held such high positions that the identity of those who gave the orders for this horrible murder cannot be revealed.”Elected president in January 2005, Yushchenko said in March that he would make it a priority to clarify the circumstances of the murder of Gongadze, the editor of the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda. He gave this pledge after three police officers were arrested for carrying out the murder. The trial of Valery Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Olexander Popovitch began on 9 January but the initial hearing was adjourned after a little more than an hour when the judge ruled that the courtroom, into which only a handful of journalists could fit, was too small. The next hearing was not held until yesterday.Judge Grigoryeva yesterday also refused a request from the Gongadze family’s lawyer, Andrey Fedur, for former President Leonid Kuchma, current parliamentary speaker Volodymir Litvyn and other senior officials to be called as witnesses. Evidence has been discovered indicating that Kuchma and Litvyn could have been among those who gave the orders for Gongadze’s murder.“We urge the Ukrainian judicial authorities to allow the senior political officials implicated in this case to appear as witnesses,” Reporters Without Borders added. “We support the family’s request and its insistence that all aspects of this case be clarified.” September 7, 2020 Find out more RSF_en Follow the news on Ukraine News to go further News UkraineEurope – Central Asia Organisation UkraineEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information Crimean journalist “confesses” to spying for Ukraine on Russian TV Ukraine escalates “information war” by banning three pro-Kremlin media February 26, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts News Ukrainian media group harassed by broadcasting authoritylast_img

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