Friday, October 14, 2011

Ukrainian Whistleblower Flees to US

Former Ukrainian security officer Major Mykola Melnichenko fled to the US because his life was in danger, his attorney stated.  From 1998-2000, during the time he served as bodyguard for former president Leonid Kuchma, Melnichenko secretly tape-recorded numerous conversations in Kuchma’s office; some of the records appeared to prove that Kuchma was involved in the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Melnichenko was prosecuted for the disclosure of a state secret, and obtained a political asylum in the US. The prosecution was abandoned in 2005, after which Melnichenko returned to Ukraine. However, in 2011 the state secret disclosure prosecution was resumed. Ukraine’s General Prosecutor Viktor Pshonka stated that Melnichenko's escape to the US breached a written undertaking not to leave. Melnichenko denied signing any such undertaking, and vowed to sue Pshonka in libel.

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