Detainee involved in acid attack on Kherson activist Handziuk has nothing to do with police - Anton Gerashchenko
Investigators are examining contacts and connections of Mykola Novykov, who is suspected of an attempted murder of acting manager of affairs at Kherson City Council's executive committee, adviser to the mayor of Kherson and local activist Kateryna Handziuk, who survived an acid attack, member of the Interior Ministry's board and Member of Parliament from the People's Front faction Anton Gerashchenko has said.
"[The detainee] is Mykola Novykov, born in 1978, a native of the city of Kherson, previously convicted of a theft and Illegal possession of firearms, and who is also a member of a criminal gang in Kherson region. Obviously, he was fulfilling the order. His contacts and connections are being examined by the police," Gerashchenko told TV Channel 112.Ukraine on Monday, August 6.
According to him, law enforcers recommend Novykov tell them the truth, disclose who was his customer, who was the organizer, as "this will largely shorten his term."
"If he doesn't break down under interrogation, he will get the maximum [term]," Gerashchenko said.
According to him, the police are now interested in the question of who ordered and organized the attempted assassination of Handziuk.
"We've got certain clues. I can now say that these customers and organizers have nothing to do with the police, and although Kateryna Handziuk and her friends regularly claim in public that members of the police are involved in - this is absolutely untrue. The investigation will prove this later," he said.
"Accusations that were addressed to the police of Kherson region that the law enforcers were allegedly covering those who attempted to kill Kateryna Handziuk are absolutely false," Gerashchenko said.
According to him, it is already known that Novykov bought sulfuric acid and was waiting for the victim near her house in the morning and then committed his crime, having thrown acid at her. "But we understand perfectly well that he is a performer, that he was fulfilling someone's order," he said.
Handziuk's criticism "against officials and individuals" could be the motive behind the crime, he added.
As reported, an unidentified young man splashed acid onto Kherson City Council employee Handziuk in Kherson early on July 31. She was hospitalized locally and airlifted to a Kyiv hospital the following day.
On August 1, investigators changed the article of the Criminal Code under which the crime is being investigated from "intentional serious bodily harm committed with the aim of intimidating the victim" to "attempted murder with extreme atrocity."
First Deputy Head of the National Police of Ukraine Viacheslav Abroskin said that Handziuk had agreed to cooperate with investigators to help uncover this crime.
On August 3, Chief Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko announced that the SBU Security Service of Ukraine would handle the case.
On the same day, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the suspect had been detained.