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KIEV, October 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The Ukrainian opposition resubmitted the draft law on amnesty for former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko to the parliament on Wednesday, October 3.
“The draft law will correct distortions in the current criminal and judicial system with regard to people who serve prison terms for minor crimes and will put an end to political persecution,” Batkivshchina’s press service said.
The draft law suggests applying amnesty to the most vulnerable categories of convicts such as minors, pregnant women, elderly people and people with disabilities.
At the same time, it also provides for amnesty for people who have been sentenced under articles of the Criminal Code that allow dual interpretation and application, specifically Article 365, which the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) say is applied too broadly and allows regular political decisions to be criminalised.
“As a result, this leads to unlawful and unjustified prosecution of opposition politicians by judicial and law enforcement bodies,” the authors of the document said.
They suggested extending the amnesty law to people who were sentenced under Articles 191 and 365 of the Criminal Code. These include Timoshenko and Lutsenko.
Earlier in the day, the government submitted to the parliament a draft amnesty law that may affect 1,500 prisoners but will not apply to former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko.
Amnesty will be granted to prisoners sentenced for minor crimes, minors, sick and elderly people, as well as persons who have children under the age of 18, Justice Minister Alexander Lavrinovich said when presenting the draft law.
In his opinion, the adoption of the law will help “reduce the number of people who serve their prison terms and who pose no serious public threat”.
The amnesty will not apply to people who committed grave crimes, including those involving violence, as well as those who were convicted for abuse of power under aggravating circumstances (Article 365 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code).
Timoshenko was sentenced under this article and was found guilty of having acted in excess of her powers when signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009.
On October 11, 2011, Kiev's Pechersky District Court sentenced 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.
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.
As a result of 16 amnesties in Ukraine since it proclaimed independence, about 162,000 prisoners were set free. Currently, there are more than 150,000 prison inmates in Ukraine.