Anti-corruption activist killed in Ukraine 

Ekaterina Handziuk was an anti-corruption activist in Kherson, in the south of Ukraine. This summer, somebody threw sulphuric acid at her. Three months later, she died in a hospital. The man respsonsible is unlikely to be prosecuted.  

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Anti-corruption activist killed in Ukraine  - NewsMavens
Ekaterina Handziuk, YouTube

Why this story matters:

Fighting corruption was a major theme in the Ukrainian "Dignified revolution" of 2014, and any officials ousted then have paid the price. But four years after that, it seems the old practices are back.

Katerina Handziuk was not a national celebrity -- she was a local government official who fought police corruption.

Now the police have detained five men who carried out the acid attack, but the man who is widely believed to be the mastermind behind it is still seemingly beyond the reach of the justice. He is still a high-ranking officer in Kherson. 

Handziuk was known to be a harsh critic of her opponents, yet, like everyone she was defenseless in the face of brute force.

Her assassination was brutal and her death prolonged -- and one cannot shake off the feeling that it was meant as a message to other activists.

Details from the story:

  • Katerina Handziuk worked in the Kherson city government and as an advisor for the local mayor.
  • She also was an anti-corruption activist, focusing on two things: Russian influence in her home region, and corruption in the local police force.
  • Since her attack in July, the Ukrainian police have arrested five men, all of whom previously fought in the east of the country, for attempted murder. After her death, the case was reclassified as a premeditated contract murder.
  • After her death early this month, a wave of outrage in the Ukrainian social media followed, and many people came to demand justice for her in Kyiv, in front of the Ministry of Interior HQ. Now, her case is being investigated by the Ukrainian Secret Service, but her fellow activists have little faith in law enforcement.
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