MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet, who died when his car was bombed in Ukraine, has been buried in his hometown of Minsk, Belarus.
Sheremet, who once was imprisoned in Belarus, where independent media are under consistent pressure from the authoritarian government, had moved to Ukraine two years ago after several years in Russia, seeing Ukraine as having a more free media environment.
He worked for the news website Ukrainska Pravda, which is noted for investigative work, and remained editor of a news website in Belarus.
A car he was driving was blown up Wednesday in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. No arrests have been made.
Hundreds of mourners attended his Saturday funeral at a Minsk church, a day after hundreds of others honored him in Kiev, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“Sheremet will go down in history as a bright example of the new journalism of which the leaders of Russia and Belarus and Ukraine are afraid,” said Zhanna Litvina, head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
Also at the funeral was Mustafa Nayyem, a Ukrainian parliament member and journalist whose call for rallies in late 2013 set off the massive protests that led to Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president fleeing the country in February 2014.
The blast that killed Sheremet “was directed against the country that we want to build — open, free, trustworthy and smiling,” Nayyem said.
Mourners outside the church in Minsk broke into a rhythmic applause of honor as Sheremet’s casket was carried out.
On Friday, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova denounced the killing of Sheremet and urged the authorities “to spare no effort in investigating this crime.”
“In the interest of freedom of expression and freedom of information, it is important that those responsible for the killing of Pavel Sheremet be brought to justice,” Bokova said in a statement released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
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