Kiev – Kateryna Handzyuk, a Ukrainian civil activist and adviser to the mayor of the port city Kherson on the Black Sea, died of wounds she suffered from an acid attack, the authorities confirmed on November 4.

The 33-year-old Handzyuk, known for her sharp criticism of police corruption, was doused with sulfuric acid by an unknown assailant outside her home in Kherson on July 31.

Her death occurred as a result of a wave of attacks on Ukrainian civil activists. Law activists claim that law enforcement agencies have not thoroughly investigated cases and may even be complicit in some attacks.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his condolences to Handzyuk's family during his trip to Turkey and called on law enforcement authorities to do everything in their power to bring their killer to justice.

"Attacks on civil society activists are unacceptable and the perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice", EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn has tweeted.

Five suspects were arrested for alleged involvement in the attack, but there was no information about their mastermind.

After nearly 40 percent of her body Handzyuk suffered severe burns and lost sight after acid attack in one of her eyes. According to doctors who treated her in a burn center in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

The doctors performed eleven surgical procedures to save their lives. From her hospital bed, Handzyuk swore to track down her attackers.

The police first cited the case as hooliganism, but turned it into a murder attempt, which was committed with extreme cruelty after a public outcry.

Clock: Handzyuk speaks from her hospital bed

The Ukrainian legislator Olena Sotnyk on November 4 renewed its previous call for a special committee of inquiry be formed in parliament to investigate their case.

Local and international civil society groups have seen at least 55 unresolved attacks on activists since 2017, including Handzyuk.

In recent months, protesters calling for adequate police response have been gathering outside government buildings across the country in a campaign called "silence kills."

Yuri Lutsenko, the Attorney General of Ukraine and presidential candidate, rioted after protesting in September when he said activists were partly to blame because they mix up an "atmosphere of total hatred of the authorities".

Handzyuk stood out in their criticism of police corruption.

In september 2017 she accused Artem Antoshchuk of A department head of the regional police Kherson, which demanded a cut of 3 percent of all orders and tenders in the region.

The prosecution led to a fierce legal battle that won her.

The police has detained five former fighters of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, a splinter faction of the ultranationalist militia of the Right Sector, which is suspected of involvement in the attack.

Four of the men have claimed the fifth, Serhiy Torbin, a former police officer in Kherson, was the prime suspect.

Torbin is in custody of the Ukrainian security service in a detention center in Kiev, his lawyer Jurij Khazov told the Kiev newspaper.

Still images of a CCTV camera The information published by local media seems to show the alleged attacker who ran away from the scene.

Six weeks before her death, Handzyuk recorded a video message for Hromadske TV from her hospital bed. Wrapped in bandages, she said she was sure the attack should kill her.

"Why do I consider it a murder attempt? Because the acid was poured on my head, "she said. "If someone wanted to warn or silence me, he could have targeted my arms, legs or face – everywhere. But they poured a liter of acid on my head. "

Before signing off, she added, "Yes, I know that I look bad now. But I am sure that I look much better in Ukraine than justice and justice, "she said. "Because they are not treated by anyone."


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