“The President is responsible for Lutsenko’s life”
The wife of former Minister of Internal Affairs in Tymoshenko’s government and leader of the political party People’s Self-Defence, Yury Lutsenko, has publicly warned that her husband’s state of health has deteriorated. Yury Lutsenko has been on hunger strike since 23 April in protest at the latest court order extending his remand in custody for another month. He has been held in the Kyiv SIZO [pre-trial detention centre] since December last year.
During an interview on TV Channel 5, Iryna Lutsenko said: that from what the staff tell her, her husband could hold out for 3-4 days and had not passed the critical point where a person loses consciousness. She confirmed that he was not being force-fed.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has issued a statement claiming that a commission of the “highest category of doctors from Ministry of Health medical establishments” had examined Yury Lutsenko, and that at the present time his state of health is satisfactory. The report also asserts that on the recommendation of the doctors, Lutsenko voluntarily took a nutritional mixture up to 4 May, inclusive.
Yury Lutsenko’s brother, Serhiy, calls the PGO report “the latest official lies”.
A delegation of high-ranking officials, including the Deputy Prosecutor General, the Human Rights Ombudsperson and the Minister of Health visited the former Minister of Internal Affairs in the SIZO after President Yanukovych passed to the PGO the letter sent him by Yury Lutsenko’s wife and lawyers. According to Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Mykola Tomenko, from the opposition BYuT bloc, the President must now take responsibility for Lutsenko’s life and health since all other resources have been exhausted. “He was approached and whoever he passes the letter on to, he is still responsible”.
The BBC Ukrainian Service reports that Die Welt has published an article suggesting that while the regime cannot dare imprison the main leader of the opposition, Yulia Tymoshenko, it has more leeway with the second most dangerous political opponent, Yury Lutsenko. It calls the charges against him “absurd”.
At the end of April, the Danish Helsinki Committee on Human Rights published a report analyzing human rights violations in the cases of two former high-ranking officials in ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s government: Yury Lutsenko and Yevhen Korniychuk.Lutsenko is being held in custody as one of the main figures in the opposition (khpg.org/index.php?id=1304718183).
The Danish human rights group is the latest of many international organizations to express concern over Lutsenko’s continued remand in custody. As reported, he was arrested on 26 December last year with the help of an SBU Special Forces Alfa unit when he left his home to walk the dog.
Yury Lutsenko is charged with abuse of position and causing losses to the State. He rejects the accusations and calls them politically motivated.
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