KIEV - The body of a far-right Ukrainian activist and reporter was found dumped in the woods with signs of torture a day after his abduction, his party said on Sunday. The blood-caked and bruised remains of Svoboda (Freedom) ultranationalist party member Vasyl Sergiyenko were found under a pile of rubbish in the woods near the central Ukrainian village of Vygrayev, 120kms southeast of Kiev, the party said in a statement. Sergiyenko helped organise the deadly protests that gripped Kiev and led to the ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych last month, Svoboda said. He was also a member of one of the nationalist opposition's self-defence groups that periodically clashed with the police. ‘There are signs of torture on Vasyl Sergiyenko's body: his head was bashed in, his kneecaps mangled,’ said the group in a statement, adding that there were also knife stab wounds near his heart, neck and nape of the neck.

The local prosecutor's office confirmed Sergiyenko's abduction and the discovery of his body in the woods, but provided no other details, citing an ongoing investigation. Svoboda said Sergiyenko's neighbours told them he was abducted outside his home on Friday evening by three men who threw him in the car after a brief scuffle.

It added that the activist, who also wrote for the local Nadrossya nationalist newspaper, had reported being threatened about a week prior to his abduction. Svododa said it believed his murder was linked to series of exposes Sergiyenko wrote about a powerful local businessman, whom it did not name. The controversial party, the fourth-largest in parliament, is headed by Sergiy Tigipko, a veteran politician and businessman who is known for making disparaging remarks about Jews and is standing in Ukraine's snap May 25 presidential elections.