Sharamet’s murder remains unsolved one year later
Pavel Sharamet’s murder remains unsolved one year after the prominent Belarusian-born journalist was killed by a car bomb in Kyiv.
The 44-year-old Sharamet (Sheremet) was behind the wheel of the car belonging to Olena Prytula, his common-law wife and a prominent journalist, when it exploded at 7:45 a.m. in downtown Kyiv on July 20, 2016. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said that the explosion had been triggered by a remotely operated bomb planted underneath the vehicle.
Investigators believe that the attack was linked to Mr. Sharamet’s work but there are also theories that he may have been killed for the purpose of destabilizing the situation in Ukraine or that a personal motive was behind the crime. Law enforcement agencies have also not ruled out a theory that Ms. Prytula was the true target of the attack.
In a July 12 report, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that Ukrainian authorities had made no progress in the investigation and no suspects had been arrested.
The report said that law enforcement agencies offered no clear evidence to back their primary line of investigation of Russian involvement. It suggested that authorities were “not fully investigating the possibility of Ukraine involvement.”
Mr. Sharamet, known for his outspoken criticism of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his friendship with the slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, started his journalistic career in Minsk in 1992 as an economic expert with Belarusian Television.
His reporting earned him the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Award in 1999 and the OSCE’s Prize for Journalism and Democracy in 2002.
In 1997, Belarus convicted Mr. Sharamet of illegally crossing the border into Lithuania for his report proving that the Belarusian-Lithuanian border was porous. He served three months in prison before being released.
He eventually moved to Moscow where he worked for Russia’s television channel ORT (Channel One) for 12 years.
He was beaten up by who appeared to be plainclothes policemen and jailed during his visits to Minsk in 2004 and 2006.
Mr. Sharamet co-wrote The Accidental President, an unflattering account of the Belarusian leader’s life, which is banned in Belarus. He was also a co-founder of
He was stripped of Belarusian citizenship in March 2010. The formal reason for the move was his earlier acquisition of Russian citizenship.
In 2014, Mr. Sharamet became the target of a harassment campaign in the Russian media for his criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
He moved to Kyiv and worked for Ukrayinska Pravda, Ukraine’s leading independent news website founded in 2000 by Ms. Prytula and Georgy Gongadze, who was assassinated in September 2000.
Before the murder of Mr. Sharamet, both he and Ms. Prytula had complained of being followed.