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US disappointed with Lutsenko sentence, demands to release Lutsenko, Timoshenko

August 17, 2012, 21:20 UTC+3

Politically-motivated prosecution сauses a serious concern of the United States over the adherence of the Ukrainian administration to democracy

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КIEV. August 17 (Itar-Tass) –The United States is disappointed with the Friday sentence on ex-Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko passed by the Kiev Pechersky District Court, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said.

Politically-motivated prosecution of opposition leaders, among them ex-Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, causes a serious concern of the United States over the adherence of the Ukrainian administration to democracy and the rule of law, the embassy said.

It urged the Ukrainian government to free Lutsenko and Timoshenko and said they should have an unlimited access to the political life.

The court sentenced Lutsenko to two years in custody in the case of illegal surveillance in the course of the investigation of the poisoning of ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in 2004. The same court sentenced Lutsenko in February to four years for exceeding his authority and embezzling funds in the celebrations of the Police Day in 2008-2009. The ex-minister has been in custody since December 28, 2010.

The court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11, 2011, for exceeding her authority in the signing of the gas contracts with Russia in 2009. She was also compelled to pay 1.51 billion hryvni (almost $200 million) to Neftegaz Ukrainy.

A new case against her was opened on October 13, 2011, for writing off the debt of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine, while being the corporation president, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko. Timoshenko is serving a seven-year-term in Kharkov.

Ukraine will elect a new parliament on October 28, 2012. The Ukrainian Central Elections Commission has refused to register both politicians as candidates due to their outstanding conviction.


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