France’s Human Rights Ambassador condemns violation of Lutsenko’s rights


France’s Human Rights Ambassador Francois Zimeray spoke to journalists while visiting Thursday’s hearing in the trial of former Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko, saying:.

“I just saw a man in a cage, a man who should enjoy the presumption of innocence. He has not been convicted yet, which means that he remains innocent. A person who is presumed innocent is effectively innocent which means that I saw an innocent man in a cage.”

“I ask myself how, if the court system sees fit to treat Lutsenko, Tymoshenko, Ivashchenko and people of such a level so severely and brutally, what is it like for those who can’t attract the media and public’s attention, who don’t have the money for proper defence in court?”

Francois Zimeray stressed that remand in custody was appropriate only in exceptional circumstances.

As reported, on Wednesday the French Human Rights Ambassador was refused permission to meet with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is being held in the Kachanivska Penal Colony in Kharkiv. He was told that this was because questioning was planned for that day in another criminal cases brought against her. The questioning was to be without her defence council present. 

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