After a court hearing on March 23 in the case of the murdered activist Kateryna Handziuk, the prime suspect, Vladyslav Manger, spoke to hromadske, saying that he had nothing to do with Handziuk’s murder, and that the prosecution has been unable to find any evidence against him in over a year of investigations.
“If you were to read the case’s conclusion, you would be very surprised, because, first of all, the motive stated – cutting down the forest. For a year and a half [investigators] have been investigating this logging, is Manger there? No. We’re the only body that made a decision to stop logging. Secondly – the political appearances of the late Handziuk. What sort of appearances? Was this an article, an appearance for the press? Or was this a few posts where my name was mentioned and that’s all?” commented Manger to hromadske.
He says that the prosecution first needs to understand who benefited from these appearances, and figure out “why the current deputy prosecutor-general (Viktor Trepak previously worked at the Security Service of Ukraine – ed.) is here and who he’s covering for at his previous job.”
Manger also claims he had no idea about the visit of his lawyer to another suspect in the case, Oleksiy Levin, but he hopes the latter’s testimony will help his case.
“These two witnesses whose testimony forms the basis of the suspicions [against me]...against one (Serhei Torbin – ed.) we filed a suit in court in order to conduct a linguistic analysis, because we suspect he was reading off a piece of paper,” alleges Manger. “For the second (Ihor Pavlovskiy – ed.), he specifically to the investigatory court on December 17 that...he simply needed at the time to leave prison, and he was ready to give whatever testimony, anything they wanted.”
Prosecutors have filed a motion with the court to extend investigations for four more months, saying that they need the additional time in order to fully investigate Levin and his testimony. But their motion has currently been delayed, as Manger’s defense have filed their own motion to have the judge in the case recused, accusing them of bias.
If the prosecutor’s motion is not granted, then the investigation period is set to expire on April 3