Thomas Hammerberg: Detention of Lutsenko, Ivaschenko and Tymoshenko unwarranted
At his press conference on Saturday, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg said that there were no grounds for the detention of former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lutsenko and former Acting Defense Minister Valeriy Ivashchenko pending court ruling, or for the arrest of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko before her sentence was passed.
Mr Hammerberg said that Ukraine has a problem with excessive use of pre-trial detention, and stated that this was of great importance for the international community with regard to prosecutions like those of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and Ivashchenko. In not one of these cases, he added, had he found any exceptional circumstances that could warrant their detention. .
Valery Ivashchenko has been in custody since August 2010; Yury Lutsenko since December 2010 and Yulia Tymoshenko was arrested at one of the court hearings at the beginning of August this year. On 11 October Judge Kireyev sentenced her to seven years imprisonment, a ruling that was very widely, swiftly and emphatically condemned by the international community.
Mr Hammerberg’s comments reported by Interfax Ukraine