Ukrainian police officer sentenced to life for 2000 murder of muckraking journalist

A Ukrainian court has convicted a former police general of killing an investigative journalist and sentenced him to life in prison.

Heorhiy Gongadze, who exposed high-level corruption, was kidnapped in September 2000 and his decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev several months later.

Then-president Leonid Kuchma was accused of involvement in the murder based on audio recordings secretly made in his office in which he allegedly conspires against the journalist. Prosecutors opened a probe against Kuchma in 2011, but a court dropped the charges against him later that year.

On Tuesday, the Pechersk District Court in Kiev convicted the former chief of the Interior Ministry's surveillance department, Gen. Olexiy Pukach, of strangling Gongadze and handed him a life sentence. Three other police officers were sentenced earlier for involvement in the killing.