Yesterday, the adviser to Kherson mayor and the famous public activist Kateryna Handziuk died aged 34, according to the Facebook page dedicated to her case.
Previously, the cause of death was a detached blood clot.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has already expressed his condolences due to the death of the woman and demanded from law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to punish her murderers.
‘I was told that activist Kateryna Handziuk... unfortunately, she died in a hospital... I want to address the law enforcement bodies so that they do everything possible to find the murderers, to punish them, and put them on the defendants’ bench,’ he claimed.
He added that all-Ukrainian society should join hands and help the law enforcement bodies to get evil punished.
What is Kateryna Handziuk known for?
She was a Ukrainian political consultant, public figure, blogger, and journalist. An acting Head of the Executive Committee of Kherson City Council and an Adviser of Kherson’s Mayor.
Since 2010, she worked in the "Eidos Center for Political Studies and Analytics" public organization.
The activity of this organization is aimed at researching and reforming the sphere of public finance, fighting corruption, raising the level of public and political education among the population, and developing local democracy.
In addition, Handziuk was a member of the election headquarters of Volodymyr Mykolayenko, who became Kherson mayor in 2014.
“Kateryna was a plain dealer, she always spoke very harshly and honestly about many situations,” the mayor describes the public activist.
In November 2016, she became the manager of the Kherson city council executive committee and also worked as an adviser to Mykolayenko.
Kateryna's friends say that the official had two main “directions” in which she had principal opponents: opposition to the “pro-Russian movements” in Kherson, as well as the fight against corruption of certain local police units.
An attempt on Kateryna Handziuk
On July 31, Kateryna was attacked. At about 8:30 a.m., Handziuk left her own house, and a 20-25 years old guy came out of the bushes with a container of liquid in his hands. Having reached the woman, he splashed the contents of the container in her face and ran away.
"I came out, he poured me. I felt something warm. Then I realized that my clothes started melting. I couldn't go home. Passers-by were trying to wash this with water," Handziuk told to the lawyer Masi Naiem after the attack.
Only on the second day after the incident, examination established that this liquid was concentrated sulfuric acid.
Kateryna Handziuk was immediately taken by an ambulance to the city hospital. There she was placed in the intensive care unit, anti-shock measures were performed, and her condition was stabilized; however, it was decided to conduct further medical treatment in Kyiv.
She received a burn of 35% of the skin surface. The neck, back, and part of the face near the eye suffered the most. Kateryna underwent 11 surgeries on removing the dead tissue and skin transplantation over the past 50 days after the attack, as her husband Sehiy Denisov said, Human Rights Information Centre reports.
The investigation suspects five former ATO participants in the attack on Kateryna Handziuk. These are Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, Victor Gorbunov, Volodymyr Vasyanovych, Serhiy Torbin, and Mykyta Grabchuk. All of them were detained. Two were taken into custody, and for three others are under house arrest.
“The investigation considers two main versions of the attack: the professional activity of Kateryna Handziuk as the acting head of Kherson city council’s office and the second version – her social and political activity,” said Vyacheslav Abroskin, first deputy chairman of the National Police of Ukraine, told.
At the moment, all those suspected of the attempted assassination of Handziuk confessed to the crime. Only Torbin pleaded not guilty.
Police reclassified the assault on the public activist Kateryna Handziuk. This is reported by the press service of the National Police. "Today, November 4, investigators have changed the qualification of the attack on a Kherson city council official, qualifying it as a completed crime," the statement said.
At the same time, it is specified that the crime against Handziuk is being investigated under paragraphs 4, 6, 11 and 12, Part 2, Art. 115 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (murder committed by a group of persons, for mercenary reasons, with particular cruelty, ordered).
The entire evidential base in Kateryna Handziuk’s case was collected by law enforcers, and the materials will be submitted to the court in the near future. This was reported on Facebook by the head of the National Police of Ukraine Serhiy Knyazev.
“The investigation is almost complete, the entire evidential base has been gathered, and we will submit the materials of the criminal proceedings to the court in the near future. If the guilt of the detainees is proved, they face up to 15 years or life imprisonment,” Knyazev said.
He added that the police expect that the detained organizers of the attack on Handziuk will give additional testimony about those who ordered the crime.
European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn expressed his condolences to Ukraine over the death of the Acting Head of the Executive Committee of Kherson City Council, Adviser to Kherson’s Mayor and public activist Kateryna Handziuk
"Very saddened by the news of the passing of the incredibly brave Kateryna Handziuk. Attacks against civil society activists are unacceptable. The perpetrators of this vicious crime must be brought to justice. My thoughts are with her family and friends," he said on Twitter.