Gyorgy GongadzeUkrainian authorities are still obstructing the investigation into the brutal murder of web journalist Gyorgy Gongadze, according to a new report.

It is five years since Mr Gongadze's headless body was found in a ditch outside Kiev in September 2000. He had been investigating government corruption for Ukrainian Pravda.

Audio tapes discovered shortly afterwards appeared to document government ministers planning to kill him, and Ukraine's new president Viktor Yushchenko had promised that the case would be a high priority for his administration.

But a report published today by the NUJ, IFJ, the Gongadze Foundation and Kiev's Institute of Mass Information claims the investigation has been hampered by negligence, and by political pressure to focus on the murderers rather than the organisers of the crime.

A Ukrainian general implicated in the killings has disappeared and another key witness has died.

"This brutal killing casts a long shadow over Ukraine as it struggles to create a democracy worthy of the name," said Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ.

"But there will be no peace or democracy in Ukraine until there is justice for Gongadze. Those who abused their power to stifle the voice of a critical journalist must be exposed and brought to trial."

The report has been published to mark the fifth anniversary of Mr Gongadze's death on 16 September. NUJ president Tim Lezard and general secretary Jeremy Dear will lead a delegation to London's Ukranian embassy this Friday to push for a resolution to the case.

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