Ukrainian official arrested over deadly acid attack

15 Feb 2019 / 16:43 H.

KIEV: A Ukrainian court on Friday placed a high-ranking regional official in custody after he was charged with organising a deadly acid attack on an activist.

Vladyslav Manger will be held until at least March 3, with bail of 2.5 million hryvnia (US$91,800), press secretary for General Prosecutor Larysa Sargan told AFP.

Manger, the head of the regional council in the southern region of Kherson, was charged with organising the attack on prominent anti-corruption activist Kateryna Gandzyuk.

The 33-year-old was attacked in July and had a litre of acid poured on her. She died in November after months of treatment, including more than 10 operations.

Her murder sparked shock and protest, with activists accusing the authorities of failing to complete the investigation or identify the mastermind.

General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko earlier this week said Manger “ordered and partially organised this crime by financing it”.

According to the charge sheet released by Lutsenko, Manger was guided by “personal animosity” because Gandzyuk opposed “illegal logging” in the region.

Lutsenko said the prosecution had obtained enough testimony from witnesses about Manger’s role, adding that the attackers had received “no less than 4,000 dollars”.

If found guilty, Manger faces up to life in prison.

Manger was a member of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a key rival of President Petro Poroshenko in the March 31 presidential election.

He was expelled from the party last week.

Gandzyuk’s death has sparked condemnation of the government and drawn renewed attention to dozens of assaults on other anti-corruption campaigners in Ukraine over recent months.

Both the European Union and the United States have called the attacks on activists unacceptable and urged authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. — AFP

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