"We believe that there was not just one person who ordered [Handziuk's killing]. Most likely, there were persons who knew about this crime. They may have provided funds, that is, they were accomplices. If there was one person who ordered the murder, we would say that everything is over. We do not say this, but we continue to work," First Deputy Head of the Main Investigative Department of the SBU Vitalii Mayakov said.
He said that five criminal cases were currently being investigated against persons who may have been and were those who ordered, organized the crime or were accomplices. According to him, these persons called themselves relatives of Handziuk and public activists.
Three criminal cases are being investigated regarding the circumstances that preceded the acid attack on Handziuk, he said.
These are crimes in which the activist accused at the time the management of the region, in particular, of arson-caused forest fires, embezzlement of budget funds, etc. All this could be the motive for attacking the activist. "We are actively working. We hope that in the near future we will reach the traces of suspects in all five cases," the official said.
On July 31, 2018, an acid attack was committed against activist Kateryna Handziuk near the entrance to her house in Kherson. She suffered burns nearly 40% of her body. She underwent several operations but died on November 4, 2018.
Five people suspected of murdering the activist were detained. It was reported on November 12, 2018 that Ihor Pavlovsky, a former aide to MP Mykola Palamarchuk, had been arrested.
On February 11, 2019, the Prosecutor General's Office served Head of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manher with a notice of suspicion in organizing an attack on Handziuk. On February 15, a court selected for him a measure of restraint in the form of detention with the right to post bail of UAH 2,497,300. The bail was posted by Manher's lawyer. On April 25, the suspicion notice to Manher was changed to "ordering bodily harm."
According to investigators, suspected co-organizers of the crime are Ihor Pavlovsky and Oleksiy Levin, whereas Manher is a person who ordered the crime.
On May 7, the Prosecutor General's Office sent to court an indictment against five people suspected of attacking Handziuk. On June 6, the instigator and accomplice of the attack, Serhiy Torbin, was sentenced to six years in prison, immediate executor Mykyta Hrabchuk to six years, aides Volodymyr Vasianovych and Viacheslav Vyshnevsky to four years each, and Viktor Horbunov to three years of imprisonment.
In May, then-Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that Kherson National Police employees could help Levin, a suspect in organizing the attack on Handziuk, flee abroad.