Lutsenko’s remand in custody extended to 26 April
On Wednesday 16 February the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv ruled that former Minister of the Interior, Yury Lutsenko, would remain in custody for a further two months, until 26 April. This was reported by the Prosecutor General’s Office whose application had been examined by the court.
Reports suggest that the court ruling was announced without journalists being present. Mr Lutsenko’s lawyer said that he had learned of the court hearing just minutes before it was to begin and did not have time to get there.
Representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office have thus far not commented on the speed and secrecy under which the court hearing took place.
The former minister 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. The political nature of the prosecutor has also been alleged by former Prime Minister and leader of BYuT, Yulia Tymoshenko, who was summoned for the latest interrogation to the Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday.
International human rights organizations, as well as Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the EU and the USA have expressed concern at the selective nature of Ukrainian justice. President Yanukovych’s Administration responds to such accusations by saying that it is waging a fight against corruption and points to arrests of officials from the new regime.