News / Europe

Ukrainian Court Keeps Tymoshenko Ally in Prison

Ukraine's former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko looks out from defendant's cage during a court session in Kiev, Feb. 27, 2012Ukraine's former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko looks out from defendant's cage during a court session in Kiev, Feb. 27, 2012
x
Ukraine's former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko looks out from defendant's cage during a court session in Kiev, Feb. 27, 2012
Ukraine's former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko looks out from defendant's cage during a court session in Kiev, Feb. 27, 2012
Reuters
A Ukrainian court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by a former interior minister and ally of jailed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko against his conviction, dashing his supporters' hopes that he might be freed as a concession to the West.
       
The European Union says the convictions of Yuri Lutsenko, 48, and of Tymoshenko, in whose government he served, smack of selective justice and political vengeance. Both politicians are opponents of President Viktor Yanukovich.
       
Brussels has told Ukraine it needs to address the issue of politically motivated trials if it hopes to clinch landmark agreements on political association and free trade this year.
       
But on Wednesday, Ukraine's High Court for civil and criminal cases largely dismissed Lutsenko's appeal against his conviction for embezzlement and abuse of office and his four-year prison sentence.
       
The High Court, whose ruling cannot be challenged in any other Ukrainian court, agreed only to slightly reduce the financial damages Lutsenko must pay to the state.
       
"He laughed when he heard the verdict,'' Lutsenko's lawyer Ihor Fomin told reporters as he came out of the courtroom. "We have exhausted all appeals nationally so we are filing this to the European Court [for Human Rights].''
       
Journalists were not let into the courtroom, where Lutsenko, who denies any wrongdoing, sat inside a glass-and-plastic box.
       
Although the ruling is final, it does mean that Yanukovich is now free to pardon Lutsenko, an option he has hinted he might exercise this year.
       
Foreign diplomats say Yanukovich may try to bargain with the EU, agreeing to let Lutsenko go but keeping Tymoshenko - a much more dangerous political foe - locked up as he prepares to run for a second term in early 2015.
       
Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that derailed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 for abuse of office.
       
Tymoshenko, who has dismissed all the charges against her as politically motivated, also faces a separate embezzlement and tax evasion trial, which has been delayed repeatedly while she is treated for back trouble in a state-run hospital.
       
In a third case, state prosecutors say they are investigating whether she is connected to a 1996 contract killing of a local businessman and parliamentary deputy.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid