Civic activist and political advisor Kateryna Handziuk told Hromadske that she believes the acid attack she suffered two months ago was an “assassination attempt,” rather than just an intimidation effort.
“Why do I consider it to be assassination attempt? Because the acid was poured on my head. If someone wanted to warn or silence me, they could have targeted my arms, legs, or face – anywhere. But they poured a liter of acid on my head,” she said.
Handziuk, who also manages the affairs of the Kherson city council and is an outspoken critic of the national police in the region, was attacked outside her home on July 31. Approximately 30% of her body suffered from burns and she remains in a hospital after nearly two months of treatment.
“I should feel better by now but I’m still in constant pain. It’s going to take a while. Burns last a very long time,” she said.
Later, Handziuk released a video where after talking about other civic activists who have been attacked in Ukraine in the past year, she addressed the government and society with several questions.
“Over 40 attacks in the past year. Who ordered all these people? Who’s covering up for those who ordered them? Why are so many investigations being frozen? Why do we need to suffer while the most active of us are murdered and tortured?” she says in the video.
Four out of five people who were detained in relation to the incident pleaded guilty, according to the police spokesperson Yaroslav Trakalo. Trakalo also told Hromadske that they were offered money to carry out the attack.
The investigation is ongoing and Handziuk remains under constant police protection. She told Hromadske that she believes the investigation to be going well and those detained to be truly responsible for the crime.
But some of Handziuk’s friends whom Hromadske spoke with said the police worked very slowly. They claimed key eyewitnesses were not questioned straight away and regular officers arrived at the scene when there should have been special investigators there.
On September 27, an event named "Silence Kills" event will take place on Bankova Street in Kyiv. Organizers of this event will openly call for full investigations into the over 50 attacks on journalists and activists such as Handziuk.
/By Li Ping Luo