KYIV — Hundreds of people rallied in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, calling for a thorough investigation into the death of a lawyer and demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
The protesters gathered in front of the building of the Kyiv regional police headquarters on January 2, a day after the body of Iryna Nozdrovska was found in the region.
The lawyer was reported missing on December 29 after she helped to make sure the man convicted of causing the death of her sister was not released from prison.
Regional police chief Dmytro Tsenov met with the protesters and told them that a special team of experts was set up to investigate Nozdrovska’s death.
Nozdrovska was the target of threats for her efforts in the case of Dmytro Rossoshansky, who was convicted of causing the death of Nozdrovska’s sister, Svitlana Sapatanyska, in 2015 when he hit her while driving his car.
Judges rejected an appeal by Rossoshansky, the nephew of a Kyiv oblast judge, to overturn under an amnesty his seven-year prison term on December 27, thanks in large part to efforts by Nozdrovska to raise public awareness about the case.
Nozdrovska and others mentioned that the young man’s “drug-addict mates” had come to the court to take him home ahead of his expected release. She thanked the judges for what she called “one of the extremely rare just court rulings.”
In Ukraine, relatives of officials often either get away with crimes or manage to get released earlier due to corruption, which observers say harms the country’s everyday life and economy and hurts Ukraine’s chances of throwing off the influence of Russia. Moscow illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and backs separatists whose war against government forces has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.