Ukraine official charged over acid killing

Kateryna Handzyuk
Kateryna Handzyuk died after recording a defiant anti-corruption video

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged a high-ranking local official over a deadly acid attack on a prominent anti-corruption activist.

The agony of Kateryna Handzyuk, 33, shocked Ukraine. She died from her burns in November, after more than 10 operations. She was attacked in July.

Vladyslav Manger, head of the Kherson regional council in southern Ukraine, was charged with organising murder.

His lawyer said no evidence had been presented against his client.

Five other suspects are in detention.

Larisa Sargan, spokeswoman for Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, said Mr Manger would have to appear before a judge in Kiev on Tuesday to face a detention order.

The indictment accuses Mr Manger of ordering the murder because of “personal hostility towards her for opposing illegal logging” in the region. A guilty verdict could send him to prison for life.

Investigators went to search Mr Manger’s home on Monday. His lawyer, Dmitry Ilchenko, said “the prosecution has presented no evidence” for the accusation.

Mr Manger denied knowing Handzyuk personally or having any ties, telling a TV station he was “ready to answer all questions from investigators” and that he was “not going to go anywhere and will fully co-operate with the investigation”.

Two other suspects – Sergei Torbin and Nikita Grabchuk – are in pre-trial detention in the case, and three more suspects are under house arrest.

Human rights activists say there were more than 50 assaults on anti-corruption campaigners in Ukraine last year, including five murders.


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