February 2, 2001


Vienna, 2 February 2001

The Vienna South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is asking an independent investigation in the case of the disappearance of Ukranian journalist Georgiy Gongadze. The investigation till today by the officials in Ukraine has been extremely unprofessional,.

Gongadze was a political journalist and the editor-in-chief of Ukrayinska Pravda, an online newspaper. He was known for his criticism of those in power. He disappeared on 16 September 2000: On 14 July 2000 Gongadze wrote an open letter to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, where he reported about problems he has, inlcuding about the fact that an unkown person was following Gongadze from his home to his office as also from office to his home. Short after he disapeared, the district prosecutor’s office initiated an inquiry into a case of premeditated murder . On 2 November 2000 the decapitated body of an unknown person was discovered in in the Kyiv region and according to autopsy the time of death of the unknown person roughly corresponded to the time of the disappearance of Mr Gongadze. On 15 November 2000, on examining the body of the uknown person, relatives identified jewellery belonging to Gongadze. Additional they found marks of an old injury he had. However, on 15 December 2000 the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced that the body found in Tarashcha was not that of Mr Gongadze

“We are asking officials in Ukraine to invite international experts and to start an open and transparent investigation connected to the case of jounralist Georgiy Gongadze”, said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO secretary general.