Lutsenko continues his hunger strike. His lawyers sound the alarm



President Yanukovych has instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to study the circumstances outlined in a letter from the lawyers and wife of the former Minister of Internal Affairs and Leader of the People’s Self-Defence Party, Yury Lutsenko. The letter’s authors asked Yanukovych to take urgent measures to reinstate Lutsenko’s constitutional rights. As reported, Yury Lutsenko himself, who has been on hunger strike since 23 April, on Thursday warned the Prosecutor General that he would resist any attempts to force feed him.

In their appeal to the President, Lutsenko’s lawyers state that their client has been unlawfully held in custody for over 4 months at the application of the Prosecutor General’s Office, aided by unconstitutional court rulings.

They say that the decision to arrest Lutsenko based on the fact that the accused is using his constitutional rights for his own defence is “exceptionally unlawful”.

They point out that the hunger strike after 15 days is a clear danger not only to his health, but to his very life.

Yury Hrymchak, National Deputy from Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence, has stated on TV Channel 5 that the European Court of Human Rights has begun examining an application from the former Minister of Internal Affairs. He says that the Court has passed questions, involving five items to the Ukrainian Government for response by 3 June.

Hrymchak added that they were sending everything that they receive from the Prosecutor’s Office to the European Court of Human Rights. This includes the refusal to provide a doctor which is a violation of a UN Resolution.

Members of Yury Lutsenko’s party accuse the Prosecutor General’s Office of lying about his hunger strike. They say that having failed to break his resolve, the Prosecutor General’s Office has resorted to circulating false information, denying that he is refusing to eat.

Yury Lutsenko passed his statement on via his wife on Thursday.  He warned that he would resist attempts to make him eat even if officers of the SIZO [pre-trial detention centre] used force. “I am ready to stand up for my rights with the highest price of my life. Freedom and lawfulness are worth it”.

His demands, he says, have not changed.

“Review and cancel the unlawful, in no way justified, decision of the investigator for my remand in custody to be continued ever after the completion of all investigative actions by myself and my lawyers”.

Yury Lutsenko’s arrest and continued detention has aroused concern both within Ukraine and from the international community.  After being arrested on a Sunday afternoon by 11 SBU [Security Service] Alfa Special Forces Officers back in December 2010, he has been held in custody ever since with the grounds less than convincing.

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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