Ukrainian activist dies three months after acid attack

KIEV • Ukrainian anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna Gandzyuk, who was seriously injured in an acid attack in July, has died in hospital, supporters and the government said.

"Katya (Kateryna) is dead. Details will be available in a while," a Facebook group that publishes updates about Ms Gandzyuk's health, and news on the investigation into the shock attack in the former Soviet country, said on Sunday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the news and offered condolences to Ms Gandzyuk's relatives at a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian community in Turkey's Antalya, where he is on an official visit.

"I appeal to law enforcement officers to do everything possible so that the murderers of Kateryna Gandzyuk are found, put on trial and punished," Mr Poroshenko tweeted.

Mr Johannes Hahn, the European Union commissioner responsible for bloc enlargement negotiations and neighbourhood policy, said he was saddened by the news from Ukraine. "Attacks against civil society activists are unacceptable," Mr Hahn tweeted.

Ms Gandzyuk, 33, who worked as an adviser to the mayor of Ukraine's southern city Kherson, was leaving home early on the morning of July 31 when a man poured about a litre of acid over her and ran away.

The campaigner was immediately hospitalised in a serious condition, with burns across 30 per cent of her body, including her upper torso, arms and face.

Ms Gandzyuk was an outspoken critic of corruption in law enforcement agencies, particularly the police.

Ukraine has seen an increase in attacks on anti-corruption activists and campaigners.

Journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a car bomb in 2016 while driving near his home in Kiev.

Last year, the stabbed body of human rights activist Iryna Nozdrovska was found in a river outside Kiev. In July, Mr Vitaliy Oleshko, a former volunteer fighter in the rebel Ukrainian east and a local activist, was shot dead outside a hotel in the south-eastern city of Berdyansk.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'Ukrainian activist dies three months after acid attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe