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Justice Denied: Ukraine Comes Up Empty In Probe Of Pavel Sheremet's Murder

A year after prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a car bomb in Kiev, no one has been arrested or prosecuted, even though Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed a swift investigation. Authorities say Russia is the prime suspect, but the lack of progress in the case, coupled with evidence pointing to possible Ukrainian involvement, weaken Kiev’s credibility and suggest the need for an independent probe.

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Pavel Sheremet, a journalist of rare caliber

Reuters Photographer / Reuters / Via

Pavel Sheremet was a journalist of rare caliber, one whose reporting exemplified the best practices in the countries he covered: Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

Tough reporting earned Sheremet enemies in three countries

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Via

Pavel Sheremet emphasized in his reports the determination of average Ukrainians fighting to free themselves from Moscow’s grip and the brutality of then President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime—more than 100 protesters were killed in clashes with police before the former leader fled in late February 2014, according to reports. His reports stood in contrast to most on Russia’s state-run news programs, which painted Ukraine’s revolutionaries as bloodthirsty far-right nationalists and the uprising as a coup backed by a Russophobic Washington.

International Press Freedom Award, 1998

Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko / Via

CPJ honored Pavel Sheremet with an International Press Freedom Award in 1998 for his courage and independence in reporting the news.

July 20, 2016, the day Pavel Sheremet was murdered

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Via

It was around 7:40 a.m. on July 20, 2016 when when an explosive device detonated under the car Pavel Sheremet was driving and killed him. Sheremet was 44 years old.

Unfulfilled promise from President Poroshenko

Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Via

President Petro Poroshenko promised in a July 2016 statement to personally oversee “a transparent investigation” into the murder of Pavel Sheremet. He said no resource would be spared and assigned the country’s top investigative officials to the task. “It is a matter of honor to take all measures to solve this crime as soon as possible,” Poroshenko said.

Journalism in Ukraine

AFP/Sergei Supinsky / Via

A photo of Pavel Sheremet on his desk at the Radio Vesti offices. Colleagues say his unsolved murder has made journalists in Ukraine wary.

Words of a mother

Christopher Miller / Via

In Minsk, Sheremet’s mother, Lyudmila Sheremet, offered words of support through a trembling voice, reiterating something she told colleagues of her son at his funeral: “Make sure Pavel did not die in vain. Keep fighting.”

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