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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Widow Says Kolomiyets Got Threats

KIEV -- The widow of a prominent Ukrainian news agency director who was found dead last month said her husband had received serious threats because of his work, the journalist's colleagues said Monday.

In the first publicized comments since her husband's death, Lyudmyla Kolomiyets said Mykhailo Kolomiyets first complained in January about being under "psychological pressure" from unnamed "professionals" who "threatened [him] greatly" due to his journalistic work, according to Ukrainian News, which Kolomiyets previously headed.

Mykhailo Kolomiyets went missing in late October and his body was found hanging from a tree in Belarus last month.

Police called his death a suicide, but relatives and colleagues demanded an investigation, fearing that his death could be related to his agency's independent reporting.

Kolomiyets' body was buried Saturday in Kiev.

Prosecutors opened an investigation to determine whether Kolomiyets was driven to suicide and invited a French expert to assist in a second autopsy after requests from Kolomiyets' mother and a recommendation from Reporters Without Borders, an international media rights organization. Results are expected next week.

Kolomiyets was the third high-profile journalist to be killed or die in murky circumstances in Ukraine since 2000, when crusading Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze was slain. Last year, TV station director Ihor Alexandrov was beaten to death in the eastern Donetsk region. Both crimes remain unsolved.

On Monday, Ukraine's top prosecutor prohibited high-profile lawyer Andriy Fedur from representing Gongadze's mother in the criminal investigation of her son's slaying. The dismissal order was issued Friday, but Fedur did not receive it until Monday.

Fedur said he suspects the delay was intended to avoid controversy during last week's visit of Council of Europe experts looking into the Gongadze case.