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This morning’s killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet by a car bomb in central Kyiv is a reprehensible act that has sent a shockwave for freedom of expression in Ukraine, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said.

Pavel Sheremet, who writes for the country’s top internet news site Ukrayinska Pravda, was driving to work when his car exploded at 7:45 a.m.

“This attack on a journalist is a heinous crime and the ultimate violation of the freedom to expression. Pavel Sheremet's killing must be thoroughly, impartially and independently investigated and those who are responsible must be brought to justice in a fair trial,” says Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International. “We call for better protection of journalists in Ukraine that has sad record of violence committed against media workers.”

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Khatiya Dekanoidze, head of Ukraine’s National Police has said she will personally supervise the investigation.

Pavel Sheremet, 44, was a Belarusian journalist and TV host who has been exiled in Ukraine for many years due to media repression in Belarus. In 1997 the Belarusian government jailed him, allegedly for illegally crossing the border between Belarus and Lithuania.

He also previously worked in Russia as a TV host and journalist and moved to Kyiv five years ago due to the deterioration of press freedom in Russia. He was highly critical of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian authorities, and in 1998 the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded him its Press Freedom Award for his reporting.