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KIEV, January 19 (Itar-Tass) – Opposition MPs have called for an emergency session of the parliament to discuss the rights of political prisoners, specifically former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, and assess the activity of law enforcement agencies with regard to opposition lawmakers.
They started collecting signatures in support of their demand on Saturday, January 19, the parliament secretariat told Itar-Tass.
The opposition demands that Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and Security Service chief Alexander Yakimenko attend the emergency session to report on “the resounding events of the last few days”.
“If disrespect for the rights of citizens and lawlessness of the authorities continue, we will demand, just as we promised, early parliamentary and presidential elections already this year,” UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko said.
An expanded meeting of the Batkivshchina party’s political council is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 19, to discuss the situation surrounding party leader Timoshenko. “All questions concerning the latest statements regarding our leader Yulia Timoshenko will be considered at today’s meeting,” Sergei Sobolev, deputy head of the party’s faction in the parliament, said.
MP Vladimir Oleinik of the ruling Party of Regions said his political force is ready to help the opposition collect votes for an emergency session of the parliament to discuss the “Timoshenko issue”.
“The Party of Regions is ready to help colleagues from the opposition collect 150 votes in order to initiate an emergency session of parliament on the ‘Timoshenko issue’ and provide the missing votes. We are ready to do that because we want to determine the truth in many instances associated with Timoshenko,” he said.
Moreover, the Party of Regions itself is ready to initiate an emergency session of the parliament as it is convinced that Timoshenko is guilty of many crimes. “She and [former Prime Minister Pavel] Lazarenko were robbing the country with exorbitant gas prices and now she is trying to avoid responsibility for the killing of MP Yevgeny Shcherban, using all possibilities,” Oleinik said.
On January 18, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office provided Timoshenko with notice informing her that she is suspected of involvement in the killing of MP Shcherban.
Prosecutor General Pshonka said Timoshenko might be sentenced to life imprisonment in this case. “
“Pre-trial investigation materials showing that Timoshenko made out a contract for that murder together with Lazarenko have been gathered,” Pshonka said.
According to Pshonka, Timoshenko and Lazarenko paid 2.8 million U.S. dollars for Shcherban’s assassination.
He said the criminal case over the debts of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine, which was used to be headed by Timosehnko, to the Russian Defence Ministry and the Shcherban case had been combined into one.