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Suspect arrested in Nozdrovska murder

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A Ukrainian court has arrested a suspect in the killing of activist lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska that sparked public outrage and underscored concerns about the justice system in Ukraine.

The Kyiv region’s Vyshhorod district court on January 9 placed Yuriy Rossoshans-kyy, 64, in custody for 60 days without the possibility of bail. During the hearing, Mr. Rossoshanskyy admitted to the slaying and said that nobody exerted pressure on him to commit the crime.

He is the father of Dmytro Rossoshan-skyy, who was convicted of causing the death of Ms. Nozdrovska’s sister when he hit her with his car while driving drunk in 2015.

On January 8, a week after Ms. Nozdrovska was found dead, police announced the detention of a suspect, who was not named at the time.

The court’s order came after mourners paid their last respects to Ms. Nozdrovska, who was buried next to her sister, Svitlana Sapatanyska.

People placed flowers in the yard outside Ms. Nozdrovska’s family home in Demydiv, a village in the Kyiv region, before she was laid to rest at a local cemetery on January 9.

Ms. Nozdrovska disappeared on December 29, after she helped ensure that the man convicted of causing the death of her sister was not released from prison.

The 38-year-old lawyer’s body was found in a river not far from Demydiv on January 1, and police later said she died of multiple stab wounds.

Ms. Nozdrovska had been the target of threats for her efforts in the case of Dmytro Rossoshanskyy, the nephew of a district judge in the Kyiv region.

On December 27, 2017, amid efforts by Ms. Nozdrovska to raise public awareness about the case, judges rejected an appeal by Mr. Rossoshanskyy to overturn his seven-year prison sentence.

Ukrainian National Deputy Mustafa Nayyem wrote on Facebook on January 1 that Mr. Rossoshanskyy’s father had threatened Ms. Nozdrovska at the December 27 hearing, warning her that she would “end up badly.”

Activists say suspects who are relatives of officials often avoid prosecution or conviction or are released early – a result of corruption that Western officials say harms the economy and hurts Ukraine’s chances of throwing off Russian influence.

[Andrew E. Kramer reported in The New York Times on January 9: “Ms. Nozdrovska’s struggle for justice for her sister had become a symbol of the fight against Ukraine’s deeply rooted corruption, and was featured in television documentaries and articles in the local news media.” Speaking of her sister’s case, Ms. Nozdrovska told a fellow lawyer, who did not take her words literally: “I will win this case if it costs me my life.”]

With reporting by AFP, Interfax, Ukrayinska Pravda and Strana.ua.

Copyright 2018, RFE/RL Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036; www.rferl.org (see https://www.rferl.org/a/mourners-pay-respects-ukraine-slain-lawyer-iryna-nozdrovska/28964743.html).

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