The funeral ceremony took place on Tuesday. About 500 people, nearly a hundred of them Georgiy’s colleagues, came to pay their last respects, saying it’s good that his body will finally rest in peace.
Despite yesterday’s statements that there would be no politicians at the ceremony, Olexandr Moroz, leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, came to pay honor to Gongadze. “We cannot talk about any sort of law-bound state in Ukraine until the case of his murder is solved, until they find contractors of the assassin’s paymasters. The perpetrators still testify in court, but there’s no trace of contractors”, Moroz said. Moroz wasn’t the only politician there; Minister for Youth and Sport Ihor Zhdanov, Presidential Representative in th Parliament Stepan Kubiv, MPs Mustafa Nayem, Viktoria Syumar and Ihor Mosiychuk were present, too.
Yevhen Hlibovytsky, the Ukrainian journalist and a friend of Gongadze family, approached the reporters and read the statement of his widow Myroslava. “The close ones of Georgiy Gongadze feel relief due to the fact that his body is buried with dignity that everyone deserves. The investigation into his murder is not over yet. The contractors of his assassination should be judged, sooner or later. The supremacy of law is a way to bring justice to the society. The assertion of democracy and freedom of speech in Ukraine would be the best way to remember Georgiy”, the statement said. Hlibovytsky didn’t answer his counterparts’ questions, saying he was only authorized to read the statement and added that there would be no access for journalists to Gongadze’s family on this day.
Georgiy Gongadze was a Georgian-born Ukrainian reporter, kidnapped in September 2000. Two months after that, a headless body that presumably belonged to Gongadze was found in woods in Kyiv region. The circumstances of his death became a national scandal and a focus for protests against the government of the then President Leonid Kuchma. During the so-called “cassette scandal”, audiotapes were released on which Kuchma, the-then Head of Presidential Administration Volodymyr Lytvyn and other top-level administration officials were allegedly heard discussing the need to silence Gongadze for his online news reports about high-level corruption.
The body wasn’t buried until now, since Georgiy’s mother Lesya Gongadze refused to admit that the remains belong to her son. In November 2013, Lesya Gongadze passed away, as the investigation of her son’s murder continued. In 2005, the-then President Viktor Yushchenko posthumously awarded Gongadze with the title of Hero of Ukraine. On March 21, 2016, President Petro Poroshenko handed his widow the Star of the Hero of Ukraine.
In 2013, Pechersk District court of Kyiv gave life sentence to Olexiy Pukach, ex-Head of Foot Surveillance of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, upon finding him guilty in Gongadze’s murder. The contractors, however, still have not been identified.