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KIEV, August 15 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s Higher Administrative Court on Wednesday, August 15, rejected the united opposition’s lawsuit against the Central Election Commission, in which it demanded that former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko and ex-Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko be registered as candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Having studied the complaint against the ruling of the Kiev Administrative Court of Appeals, which refused to allow the registration of Timoshenko and Lutsenko as candidates, the Higher Administrative Court “found no legal grounds for upholding it”, presiding Judge Alexander Vedyaninov said.
The court thus upheld the ruling of the lower-tier court and supported the CEC resolution that denied registration to Timoshenko and Lutsenko.
Opposition member Ruslan Knyazevich said the Court of Appeals had failed to take into account the relevant articles of the constitution, according to which the restrictions on electing a person with an outstanding conviction to the parliament do not apply to his registration as a candidate.
Opposition lawyers claim that “there is always a probability that a person’s conviction can be dismissed or he can serve out his sentence during the election process that lasts more than three months”.
In its lawsuit, the opposition demanded that the ruling of the Kiev Administrative Court of Appeals be cancelled and that the Central Election Commission’s resolution denying registration be proclaimed unlawful and the Commission be required to register Timoshenko and Lutsenko as parliamentary candidates.
On July 30, a congress of the united opposition resolved that Timoshenko would lead the list of opposition candidates in the parliamentary elections slated for October 28. Lutsenko is on the list as well. However effective legislation does not allow a convict to run for parliament.
On October 20, 2011, the Prosecutor General's Office cancelled the decision to close the criminal case against Timoshenko in which she was charged with embezzlement of more than 25 million hryvnia (more than 10 million U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of 1995-1997, when Timoshenko headed the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine) and tax evasion in the amount of more than 20 million hryvnia.
On October 11, 2011, Kiev's Pechersky District Court sentenced Yulia Timoshenko to seven years in prison.
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 correctional facility in the eastern Kharkov region.
Ex-Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko 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.
Lutsenko said the verdict in his case was politically motivated and he would prove his case legally and politically.