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European Human Rights Court may orderTimoshenko, Lutsenko released

March 10, 2012, 21:30 UTC+3

Lutsenko was found guilty of acting in excess of his powers and of embezzling state property on a large scale

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KIEV, March 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and ex-Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko may be released by a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said.

“When we receive the ruling of the European Court we will study and implement it. Implementation is the duty of the state,” he said on Saturday, March 9.

Kuzmin believes that the European Court may have questions about Ukraine’s Criminal Code that was adopted many years ago and is still in force. “But the court cannot accuse an investigator or judge that he acted in accordance with effective Ukrainian legislation,” he said.

A dozen of criminal cases were opened against Timoshenko. They have been investigated and handed over to her for review, after which they will go to court.

“Timoshenko has been charged not only with acting unlawfully as prime minister but also of avoiding taxes as an individual and the head of a commercial company, as well as of official and mercenary crimes,” Kuzmin said.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is also studying information about Timoshenko’s possible involvement in the assassination of MP Yevgeny Shcherban and members of his family.

On October 11, 2011, Timoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for having acted in excess of her powers which had resulted in damage to the national interests of the country.

Timoshenko has also been barred from holding public positions for three years and has to pay a penalty of 189 million U.S. dollars in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy.

In late December 2011, Timoshenko was transferred from the investigation prison to a penal colony in the eastern Kharkov region.

Lutsenko was found guilty of acting in excess of his powers and of embezzling state property on a large scale.

He was detained on December 26, 2010 by the Security Service near his home. On December 27, 2010, the Pechersky Court ordered him into custody. The trial has been on since May 2011. The majority of 150 witnesses called to testify in court spoke in his support, and one-third did not show up.

His lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

According to Kuzmenko, more government officials have faced criminal charges over the past two years than ever before in the history of Ukraine.

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