Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma has ordered the heads of law enforcement agencies to assume personal responsibility for investigating the death of Petro Shevchenko, the Kievskie vidomosti newspaper’s correspondent in Luhansk. Shevchenko’s body was found last week on the outskirts of Kiev in circumstances which seemed to suggest suicide by hanging. However, his colleagues and others suspect an assassination. Shevchenko and the newspaper have been giving extensive coverage to the conflict between Luhansk mayor Aleksey Danilov and the Luhansk regional branch of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), which has been investigating Danilov’s wife on charges of massive misappropriation of state assets. Shevchenko had expressed fear of reprisals for his articles. Ukrainian journalists and the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists appealed to Kuchma to order a thorough investigation and to make its results public. (Interfax-Ukraine, AP, March 15-17)
Azerbaijan Sentences Lezgin Militants.