Journalist Georgiy Gongadze, whose murder in 2000 jolted the administration of Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma, was posthumously awarded the country's highest honour on Wednesday.
The headless corpse of Gongadze, 31, was found in a wood a month and a half after he disappeared in central Kiev. Three senior policemen have been arrested in connection with an investigation still under way.
"I have signed a decree presenting the Hero of Ukraine award (posthumous) to Georgiy Gongadze," said President Viktor Yushchenko, who won last December's election on a wave of protests against Kuchma.
"He gave his young life for our freedom and independence," he told an awards ceremony.
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