Ukrainian Activist Kateryna Handziuk Dies
Handziuk was attacked with sulphuric acid on July 31, and was in serious condition since then
Photo from Ukrinform–UATV
Kherson activist and adviser to the mayor, Kateryna Handziuk, died at the hospital today, her fellow activists wrote on Facebook.
Handziuk succumbed to the injuries sustained by sulphuric acid that was thrown on her on July 31. Around 30 percent of her face and body were severely burned.
Investigations into the attack are still ongoing.
Handziuk was investigating corruption on the part of regional police commanders. She was an outspoken critic of local authorities.
Poroshenko expressed his condolences, and appealed to law enforcement to do everything possible to find and punish those responsible for Handziuk’s death.
“A few minutes ago, I was informed that activist Kateryna Handziuk, who was attacked by inhumane persons, died at the hospital. I appeal to the law enforcers to do everything possible to ensure that the murderers of Kateryna Handziuk are found and punished. We all need to unite our efforts and help law enforcement bodies to punish the evil,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.
The police initially qualified the attack as “hooliganism,” however that same day, this was changed to “causing grave bodily injuries in order to intimidate a person.” After forensic medical assessment, the investigation became one of attempted murder. With her death, the charge will likely be switched to murder.
The attack on Handziuk was ordered by law enforcers, according to a post on Facebook by Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko.
The attack had been carried out with the “assistance of separatist organizations in the south of Ukraine” and aimed at the “destabilization of socio-political situation” in the region, Lutsenko said with reference to a photocopy of the case file memo.
The murder of Handziuk has also received international attention.
“Very saddened by the news of the passing of the incredibly brave Kateryna Handziuk. Attacks against civil society activists are unacceptable. The perpetrators of this vicious crime must be brought to justice. My thoughts are with her family and friends,” wrote Johannes Hahn, the European Union commissioner for European neighborhood and enlargement negotiations, on Twitter.