Remember Gyorgy Gongadze 16 September 2003

NUJ Ireland Media Release

NUJ Calls on Taoiseach to Support Gyorgy Gongadze Campaign

The National Union of Journalists has called on the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern to support the campaign by full independent investigation into the murder of Gyorgy Gongadze.

On the anniversary of his murder, the Union joins journalists' world-wide in highlighting the case of Gyorgy Gongadze. IEC Cathaoirleach Mary Maher handed in a letter at the Ukraine Consulate. In a joint letter to Mr Ahern, Miss Maher and Mr Seamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, urged him to use his position to campaign for a full investigation into State collusion with the murder. The text of the letter to Mr Ahern is here:

On this the anniversary of the death of Gyorgy Gongadze the Irish Executive Council of the NUJ joins with colleagues throughout the world in seeking a fair, independent investigation into the circumstances of his murder.

The headless body of Gyorgy Gongadze was found in a ditch near Kyiv following his disappearance on September 16th 2000.

In November 2000 Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma and other senior politicians were implicated by audio tape on which they could be heard plotting to harm Gongadze. Former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnichenko, who fled to the US, made the tape public.

There have been other disturbing revelations that point to the possible involvement of special interior ministry forces in this heinous crime.

While acknowledging that some progress has been made by the prosecutor, we do not believe that adequate attention has been given to the key issue of who ordered the murder and the question of complicity by members of the political establishment in this crime.

Mr Gongadze was a journalist of rare courage and integrity who exposed corruption at the highest levels. It is essential that the truth regarding his murder is exposed and that the issue of state involvement in his killing should be rigorously investigated.

We urge you to use your position as Taoiseach, at both EU and Council of Europe level, to campaign for a full investigation into this murder. We believe that the Irish presidency will provide the Irish government with a valuable opportunity to highlight this issue.

We also include text from the letter handed in to the Ukraine Consulate:

On this the anniversary of the death of Gyorgy Gongadze the Irish Executive Council of the NUJ joins with colleagues throughout the world in seeking a fair, independent investigation into the circumstances of his murder.

While acknowledging that some progress has been made by the prosecutor, we do not believe that adequate attention has been given to the key issue of who ordered the murder and the question of complicity by members of the political establishment in this crime.

Mr Gongadze was a journalist of rare courage and integrity who exposed corruption at the highest levels. It is essential that the truth regarding his murder is exposed and that the issue of state involvement in his killing should be rigorously investigated. We are gravely concerned at the reported involvement of special interior ministry forces in this heinous crime.

As you begin your work in establishing the Ukraine mission in Ireland we look forward to meeting with you to discuss this case at your earliest convenience.

Further information is available from Seamus Dooley on 08722 36364.

 
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