|"As Breus was getting out of his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point blank range." — Committee to Protect Journalists|
Oleh Breus, XXI Vek, June 24, 2001, Luhansk
New York, June 28, 2001 — Oleh Breus, publisher of the regional weekly XXI Vek in the provincial city of Luhansk, was shot dead outside his home last Sunday, according to local press reports and CPJ sources.
At approximately 11 p.m. on June 24, Breus drove up to his house, accompanied by his wife and a friend. As Breus was getting out of his car, he was shot four or five times in the head and back at point blank range. Neither passenger was harmed.
Eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw two men fleeing the scene, one of them holding a pistol. The Luhansk weekly Kur'er reported that both perpetrators left in a car that was parked nearby.
The motive for the murder remains unclear. As publisher of XXI Vek, Breus was mainly responsible for financial matters. He had other business interests apart from the newspaper, and also held a senior position in the regional Communist Party of Workers and Peasants.
Breus had suffered at least one previous assassination attempt, in December 2000. His colleagues at XXI Vek had also received threats in recent months, according to local press reports.
XXI Vek editor Yuri Yurov told CPJ today that the newspaper generally reflected Breus' political positions and business interests.
Local police have launched an investigation into Breus' murder.
Committee to Protect Journalists www.cpj.org/killed/killed01.html