One year ago today, acclaimed journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed when a bomb exploded in his car. Since then, the official Ukrainian investigation has stalled, and law enforcement has failed to identify any suspects.
Hromadske sat down with Sevgil Musayeva-Borovik, the chief editor of Ukrainska Pravda, the country’s top investigative newspaper, and one of Sheremet’s colleagues. She explained why her friend’s killing has left many journalists afraid and why she’s confident the killers’ identities will eventually be revealed.
Pavel Sheremet was killed in July 2016. Photo credit: RF/RFE
Sevgil, given how the investigation is going, do you still believe that the case will be solved?
I am confident that, even if not under this president, this Minister of Internal Affairs, or National Police chief, sooner or later, we will find out who the murderers are, what their goals were. Because there is a huge demand for the truth.
We often ask why the identities of the people who planted the bomb haven't been published yet. [The authorities] answered first that they were hot on their trail. Then they said that they don't want to put those suspects — who might not have committed the murder — at risk.
Former investigators and law enforcement officers with significant experience all say that, if there was desire for it, the case could've been fully investigated during this year. They are convinced that this sabotage can be logically explained and there is something that may be hidden from the public.
I can say that, after what happened this year, people who are working in journalism in Ukraine, they don't feel safe anymore. We all are worried, because we don't understand it. The main message of this murder is that no one is safe, and the investigation that isn't really working means it can happen again.
Do you have any information about what has changed within the official investigation since the release of the film "Killing Pavel"?
I was questioned in April for the last time. It was before the release. After that, nobody contacted me. The investigators don't tell me much because I am a witness, not a victim in this case. I think that the affected side may have more details. I know that former security service employee Ihor Ustimenko was questioned, and also the authors of the "Killing Pavel". The official investigation suggested journalists, including the independent investigative unit Bellingcat, should cooperate to uncover some facts, pictures or any other information.
Do you have any sense of who in the government — the Security Service, the President, or the Interior Ministry — is holding the investigation back?
When CPJ had a meeting with our law enforcement and with the president of Ukraine, who had earlier promised to take the case under his personal control, there were no new details.
Currently, the National Police and the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, because they are the subjects who are directly investigating the case.
/Interview by Eugene Savvateev