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Suspect in Slaying of Ukrainian Opposition Journalist Dies

Ihor Honcharov, a former policemen and reputed crime boss implicated in the slaying of Ukrainian opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, died on 1 August in an ambulance en route from jail to a hospital, Interfax reported on 5 August.

The news agency quoted the Institute for Mass Information (IMI), the Ukrainian branch of government watchdog Reporters Without Borders. Honcharov was to give evidence in connection with the Gongadze's case to the Prosecutor-General's Office later this month.

The IMI also said it received a letter from Honcharov, to be opened in the event of his death, that it passed along to Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun. Gongadze, who reported widespread corruption within the Ukrainian government and was highly critical of President Leonid Kuchma, disappeared in 1999. His headless corpse was later found buried in a forest.

Ukrainian authorities have never charged anyone with Gongadze's murder.

(RFE/RL 06.viii.03)

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