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Kateryna Handzyuk. (Twitter / Amnesty International)
Kateryna Handzyuk. (Twitter / Amnesty International)

Rest in peace

Activist who was doused with acid dies 3 months after brutal attack

By WITW Staff on November 5, 2018

Kateryna Handzyuk, a Ukrainian activist who was the victim of a brutal acid attack three months ago, has died at the age of 33.

The cause of her death was not immediately clear, according to Radio Free Europe, but local media has reported that she succumbed to a blood clot. Nearly 40 percent of Handzyuk’s body was burned in the attack, and she lost vision in one eye. She had undergone 11 surgeries in an attempt to save her life. Amnesty International said Handzyuk had succumbed to the myriad injuries she suffered in the attack.

Handzyuk was a vocal critic of police corruption. Last year, for instance, she accused a department head of the regional police in Kherson, where she lived, of siphoning a three percent cut from contracts and tender made under his jurisdiction.

Police initially categorized the acid attack as “hooliganism,” but an intense public outcry in Ukraine prompted them to change the case to attempted murder. Five men, all of them former members of the ultra-right Ukrainian Volunteer Army, have been arrested in connection with the attack. The primary suspect is Serhiy Torbin, a former Kherson police officer.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on law enforcement to bring Handzyuk’s killer to justice. But activists say that authorities often fail to investigate such cases properly. Since 2017, there have been at least 55 unsolved attacks against activists in the country.

Six weeks before she died, Handzyuk recorded a video from her hospital bed saying that she was certain the attack was meant to kill her because “they poured a liter of acid on my head.”

“I know that I look bad now,” she added. “But I’m sure that I look much better than law and justice in Ukraine.” Watch the video below.

Kherson Acid Victim Says Attack Was “Assassination Attempt”

An assailant poured acid on her head. But Kateryna Handziuk is staying strong and has a powerful message for her fellow Ukrainians trying to fight corruption.Update: Unfortunately, Kateryna passed away on November 4 because of the injuries sustained in the attack. We would like to send our deepest condolences to her relatives and friends.

Posted by Hromadske International on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Read the full story at Radio Free Europe.


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