World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Ukrainian Journalist Mysteriously Dies - 21 November, 2002

The journalist’s body was found in Belarus

News agency Ukrainian News director’s mother identified the dead body of her son, Mikhail Kolomits. Kolomeits’s body was buried in the republic of Belarus. The mother took  her son’s body and left for Ukraine, being accompanied by the police.

Ukrainian journalist Mikhail Kolomeits was found hanged in a forest of the Belarus republic on October 30th whereas he disappeared on October 21st. The police had doubts, if it was really the Ukrainian journalist found in Belarus. All the doubts dissipated, when the journalist’s mother identified the body. Law-enforcement bodies of Belarus conducted the additional medical expertise of the body. The expertise is supposed to determine the reasons of Mikhail Kolomeits’s death.

The body was found on October 30th and then buried without identification on November 11th 80 kilometers far from the Belarussian capital Minsk. That expertise did not find any violent death indication (except for the fact that the journalist was hanged). The results of the new expertise will be exposed in two weeks.

The Ukrainian police set forth a version of journalist’s suicide. However, this version does not seem to be true. Robert Mйnard, the general director of the organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) sent a letter to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Svyatoslav Piskun. In the letter, Mr. Menard suggested cooperation. He also wrote that the organization was not drawn to believe the suicidal version of Mikhail Kolomeits’s death. This version was particularly announced by a spokesman for the Ukrainian Home Affairs Ministry, Vladimir Yevdokimov. Yevdokimov announced that the journalist’s death was not connected with his professional activities. Reporters Without Borders offered Ukraine’s Office of the Public Prosecutor the help of a French medical expert.

The personnel of the news agency Ukrainian News does not believe the suicide of the journalist either. Journalists say that Ukraine is supposed to institute criminal proceedings for the investigation of Mikhail Kolomeits’s death. This was said by Yegor Sobolev, the editor-in-chief of the news agency. Sobolev pointed out that there should be an independent expertise of the body conducted as well. The editor-in-chief thinks that the Belarussian authorities did not act in a correct way, when they buried the body twelve days later. According to him, it was a very surprising thing to know, taking into consideration the fact that Belarus had been informed about the missing journalist. 

Vladimir Granovsky, the co-owner of the news agency, stated that Mikhail Kolomeits’s vague actions did not prove the suicidal version of his death at all. Granovsky was surprised, why he had not been questioned by the police, in spite of the fact that his phone number was included on the list of Kolomeits’s latest phone calls. Vladimir Granovsky is certain that Reporters Without Borders must use all experience they have to investigate the case. He added that a homicide version was supposed to be considered simultaneously with the suicide version.

At present moment, Mikhail Kolomeits’s case has too many things that are not clear. Mikhail Kolomeits’s disappearance and death made Ukrainian journalists recollect other mysterious deaths of their colleagues. The chairman of the Ukrainian Union of Journalists Igor Lubchenko addressed to President Leonid Kuchma. Lubchenko asked the Ukrainian president to establish a special committee that would investigate every little detail of that mysterious death. However, it is not really likely that the work of that committee will bring any results, though.

Andrey Lubensky
PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov