Bail Denied For Ukrainian Official Suspected In Fatal Acid Attack

KYIV -- A court in Kyiv has sent the head of the regional council in Kherson to pretrial detention under suspicion of ordering a deadly attack on anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk in 2018.

The Pechera district court late on June 18 ruled that Vladyslav Manher must remain under pretrial arrest without bail until July 28.

On June 16, officers of the Ukrainian Security Service detained Manher while he was at a hospital in the city of Kherson and transferred him to Kyiv. Manher had failed twice to show up for the hearing about his pretrial restrictions, citing his own health problems, as well as those of his daughter.

Manher has denied any involvement in the attack.

Handzyuk, a 33-year-old civil activist and adviser to the mayor of the Black Sea port city of Kherson, died in November 2018 -- three months after she was severely injured in an acid attack.

Prosecutors arrested Manher in February last year and charged him with ordering the attack. Manher was later released on bail.

In June 2019, five men were sentenced to prison terms of between three and 6 1/2 years for organizing and executing the attack, after they made plea deals with investigators.

Human rights activists have accused Ukrainian law enforcement agencies of failing to thoroughly investigate the growing number of attacks on activists, and even of collusion with the perpetrators in some cases.