Human Rights Ombudsperson calls for Yury Lutsenko’s release from custody



Nina Karpachova reports that in response to appeals from National Deputies and a number of civic organizations regarding the violation of former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko’s right to liberty and personal security, she met with Yury Lutsenko on 4 May in his cell in the SIZO [pre-trial detention centre]. 

Lutsenko has been held in custody since December last year on charges and has been on hunger strike since Good Friday following the latest court ruling extending his remand for yet another month.

 Yury Lutsenko told the Ombudsperson that the preventive measures chosen was unwarranted and had been extended without taking into account all the circumstances of the case and facts about him. The main argument which the investigators had used for remanding him in custody was not even relevant since he had long familiarized himself with the material of the case.  This is confirmed by the ruling of the Court of Appeal from 21 April 2011 extending Lutsenko’s remand.

The Human Rights Ombudsperson has therefore written to the Prosecutor General saying that she considers the reason given in the ruling from 21 April for extending the remand to be unwarranted.  If others have not familiarized themselves with the material, forms of influence need to be applied with respect to them. Furthermore, Lutsenko’s lawyer has completed this and informed the Prosecutor General of it on 5 May.

Nina Karpachova points out that Yury Lutsenko is married, with two children, one of whom is underage, has positive references from his place of work and residence and is an active civic and political figure.

During the Court of Appeal’s examination of the application to extend his period of remand, 65 National Deputies, as well as the former dissident and Hero of Ukraine, Levko Lukyanenko, asked for him to be released from custody on their security.

The Human Rights Ombudsperson mentions that Yury Lutsenko has been forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights because of the violation of Article 5 of the Convention on Human Rights (the right to liberty and personal security). The Court has given priority to the case and has asked the Ukrainian government for an explanation.

She also reminds the Prosecutor General that Yury Lutsenko has been on hunger strike since 22 April.

For all the above reasons she asks the Prosecutor General, Viktor Pshonka to instruct that the possibility be examined of changing the preventive measure to one not involving remand in custody. 

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