State official named as suspect in whistle-blower Handziuk’s death
The Prosecutor-General asserts that Handziuk was specifically targeted by Manger because of her outspoken criticism on illegal logging in the region.
Vladislav Manger, the head of Kherson’s Regional Council, has been named as a key suspect in the assassination of late activist Kateryna Handziuk, according to Ukrainian prosecutors.
Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko made the announcement on February 11.
“[Vladislav Manger] is suspected of organizing murder – defined as the deliberate and unlawful causing of death to another person – which was committed with the help of mercenary elements with particular cruelty, via prior conspiracy,” according to Mr. Lutsenko’s office.
Lutsenko says Handziuk was specifically targeted by Manger because of her outspoken criticism on illegal logging in the region.
Manger has rejected the charges – calling them “politically motivated” – and denies ever meeting Handziuk.
According to the Ukrainian legal code, Manger cannot yet be detained.
“Due to the change in the Criminal Procedure Code by Yanukovych’s government, we have no right to detain Manger, but we do have the right to only invite him to court. The current Constitution allows detaining only a person who is preparing for a crime, has already confessed to committing a crime,” Lutsenko said.
A court hearing on enacting preventative measures regarding Manger’s flight risk will take place on February 12.
Manger has been a long time associate of Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party, but his membership was officially suspended on January 31.