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Key Gongadze Witness Injured in Blast

KIEV -- A key witness in the abduction and killing of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze has been wounded in a grenade explosion shortly after police said they had identified the perpetrators of the murder.

Gongadze was abducted in central Kiev in September 2000. His decapitated body was later found buried in a forest.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Inna Kysel said Sunday that investigators had identified people "who dragged Gongadze into the car." "We have the vehicle as well," she said.

A witness in the Gongadze case and a police officer who was escorting him were seriously wounded in Kiev on Sunday, hours after the police announcement, when an unidentified assailant tossed a hand grenade at them. TV5 identified the witness as Yury Nesterov. Ihor Honcharov, a former police officer and a key witness in the Gongadze case who died in prison two years ago, claimed in a letter published in the media last year that Nesterov "helped two agents of Kiev's police bureau for fighting organized crime to kidnap, torture and kill Gongadze" in a Kiev warehouse.

(The Moscow Times 01.iii.05)

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