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DISAPPEARED BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION FIGURES REMEMBERED. Some 80 people gathered in downtown Minsk on 16 September to mark the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of opposition politician Viktar Hanchar and his friend, businessman Anatol Krasouski, Belapan reported. Demonstrators held pictures of Hanchar and Krasouski, as well as those of opposition politician Yury Zakharanka and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski, who also disappeared in Belarus under unknown circumstances in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Hanchar and Krasouski were last seen on 16 September 1999 when they were leaving a public bathhouse in Minsk. In June 2001, some media outlets in Belarus received a videotaped interview with two former investigators who accused authorities of sponsoring a death squad to eliminate political opponents. The squad allegedly killed their victims with a pistol used for executions of people on death row (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 28 August 2001). JM

UKRAINIANS HONOR SLAIN JOURNALIST. Some 3,000 people gathered in Kyiv on 16 September to honor Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze on the third anniversary of his disappearance, Ukrainian media reported. Gongadze's decapitated body was found at Tarashcha near Kyiv in November 2000. The secret tapes made by presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko linked President Leonid Kuchma and former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko to Gongadze's killing. "[Gongadze] was the only journalist who took a solitary stand against the authorities," opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko told the gathering. "Kuchma and Kravchenko should be at this meeting and [should] beg for forgiveness on their knees," she added, according to the "Ukrayinska pravda" website. Earlier the same day, a cross was erected at the site near Tarashcha where Gongadze's body was found. "This is not just a symbol of the death of a man, this is a symbol of truth, of the fight for truth," Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz said during the ceremony. JM

GERMAN PILOT PAYS FINE FOR TRESPASSING, LEAVES UKRAINE. Erhard Ulver, a 74-year-old German pilot, has paid a fine of 3,400 hryvnyas ($640) and left Ukraine with two other German senior citizens, Interfax reported on 16 September. Ukrainian police on 18 August detained Ulver and his two passengers for flying a private airplane to Dnipropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine, without permission (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 August 2003). According to the agency, the three Germans were meeting friends and doing some sightseeing during their one-month stay in Dnipropetrovsk. JM

ROMANIAN OFFICIAL SAYS UKRAINE TRIES TO CHANGE STATUS OF SERPENTS' ISLAND. Senate Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Ghiorghi Prisacaru said on 16 September that Ukraine is trying to transform the uninhabited Serpents' Island in the Black Sea into a settled island in order to claim exclusive rights over the oil-and-gas seabed surrounding the island, Mediafax reported. Prisacaru said this is inadmissible and if Kyiv persists in the attempts, Romania will take the dispute over the shelf surrounding the island to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Serpents' Island was ceded by Romania to the Soviet Union in 1946 and Ukraine inherited it after the breakup of the former USSR. In the basic treaty between the two countries that was ratified in 1997, Ukraine pledged to deploy no "aggressive weapons" on it and to consider it "uninhabited," which, under international maritime legislation, means that Kyiv cannot claim an exclusive economic zone around it. MS