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article imageColleagues demand answers a year after Kiev journalist slaying

By Andriy PERUN and Olga SHYLENKO (AFP)     Jul 20, 2017 in World

Journalists gathered in Kiev on Thursday to demand results from a stalled investigation into the car bomb killing of prominent independent reporter Pavel Sheremet one year after his death.

Some five hundred friends, former colleagues and activists began a procession at the site in the centre of the Ukrainian capital where Sheremet's car was blown apart by a remotely controlled device as he sat at the wheel.

The murder of 44-year-old Sheremet -- a native of Belarus who was critical of both Ukraine's pro-Western authorities and Russia -- sent shockwaves through the tight-knit media community in crisis-hit Ukraine.

"Afterwards, many journalists in Ukraine didn't feel they were safe," Mustafa Nayem, a former colleague and current ruling party MP, told AFP.

"We are very disappointed that we don't have answers to many questions: Who did it? Who ordered it? How did it happen? And, why was Pavel killed?"

The chief editor of the Ukrainska Pravda news site where Sheremet worked, Sevgil Musayeva, slammed the official investigation into his murder as "absolutely woeful."

Little progress and no arrests have been made by the probe despite Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko insisting it was a "matter of honour" to find those responsible.

Investigators in Kiev have suggested that Moscow could have had a hand in the killing -- one of several high-profile assassinations in Kiev recently -- but have provided no firm evidence to back up their claims.

- Call for independent probe -

A documentary from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project released in May alleged Sheremet was under surveillance by Ukrainian intelligence agents around the time of his death and that they may have seen the bomb being planted.

"Authorities say Russia is the prime suspect, but the lack of progress in the case, coupled with evidence pointing to possible Ukrainian involvement, weaken Kiev's credibility and suggest the need for an independent probe," the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report this month.

Sheremet began his career in his homeland Belarus, where he founded the popular Belarussky Partizan opposition website before being expelled by the country's authoritarian government.

He moved to Ukraine after quitting working for Russian state TV in 2014 over his critical views of Moscow's meddling in Ukraine.

Sheremet wrote opinion pieces and conducted interviews with top officials in which he demanded answers for the slow pace of Kiev's efforts to stamp out embedded corruption and achieve sustainable growth.

The reporter's murder was the highest-profile killing of a journalist in Ukraine since the gruesome murder of Ukrainska Pravda's founder Giorgi Gongadze in 2000 sparked national outcry.

Gongadze's beheaded corpse was found buried in a forest outside Kiev after he investigating then-president Leonid Kuchma.

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