Valentyna Telychenko, the lawyer of Myroslava Gongadze, the wife of murdered journalist Georgy Gongadze, has filed an appeal against the verdict of Kyiv's Pechersky District Court handed down to the former chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's external surveillance department, Oleksiy Pukach, who was found guilty of the murder of Gongadze and sentenced to life in prison for it, Kyiv Post reported.
Life imprisonment is the maximum sentence in Ukraine, however Myroslava Gongadze believes that the pre-trial inquiry and the trial in the case were not conducted in full and there are serious legal gaps in the verdict.
"The complaint deals only the flaws in the establishment of the motive of the crime. I believe that the court correctly established the circumstances of the crime and assigned the appropriate punishment," Telychenko said in a comment to Interfax-Ukraine.
She also said that another injured party, journalist Oleksiy Podolsky, had also appealed against Pukach's sentence. According to Telychenko, in his appeal Podolsky says that Pukach not merely applied force against him, but also tortured him, and Pechersky District Court hadn't indicated it in its judgment.
The lawyer also said that the appeal was likely to be considered in two or three months.
On January 29, 2013, Kyiv's Pechersky District Court found Pukach guilty of killing Gongadze and sentenced him to life in prison. The court also stripped Pukach of his lieutenant general rank and obliged him to pay UAH 500,000 to Gongadze's widow, Myroslava Gongadze, and UAH 100,000 to journalist Oleksiy Podolsky, who is another injured party in the case.
Journalist Gongadze, the founder of the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda, disappeared in Kyiv on September 16, 2000. A beheaded body was found in a forest outside Kyiv in November 2000, and experts concluded preliminarily that it could have been Gongadze's. Remains of a skull were found in Kyiv region in 2009, and the Prosecutor General's Office concluded that they were Gongadze's. The body, however, has still not been buried, as the journalist's mother, Lesia Gongadze, is refusing to recognize the remains as her son's.