Ivashchenko moved without explanation to prison cell


Valery Ivashchenko (photo: UNIAN)

The three most prominent former government officials sentenced to widely criticised prison terms have now all been returned to prison. Their medical treatment coincided with the European Court of Human Rights’ Public Hearing in the case of Lutsenko v. Ukraine on 17 April.

Former Acting Defence Minister in Yulia Tymoshenko’s government, Valery Ivashchenko has been moved back from the medical unit of the SIZO [detention unit] to an ordinary cell. His lawyer, Boris Nechyporenko told UNIAN that he had only learned on Monday that his client had been moved back last Friday. He said that he had been shocked to learn that after being taken to the Pechersky District Court to read the protocol of the entire trial, he was not returned to the medical unit where he had been undergoing treatment on doctors’ advice, but taken to a normal cell. He was not even allowed back to the medical unit to get his things, which were brought to him late that evening.

The State Penitentiary Service later on Monday claimed that Mr Ivashchenko had been returned because he had “completed his treatment”.

On 13 April the US Government issued a statement in which it said that “With respect to the conviction April 12 of former Acting Defense Minister Ivashchenko, we are deeply disappointed in this latest example of selective justice in Ukraine and call for his release, particularly given the state of his health after 18 months in pre-trial detention.”

Valery Ivashchenko was arrested in August 2010 and charged with having, in November 2009 while Acting Minister of Defence abused his position by signing a plan to sell the Feodosia Marine Engineering Works which was property of the Ministry of Defence.  More details can be found in the Second Preliminary Report by the Danish Helsinki Committee on Human Rights, where Valery Ivashchenko’s case is one of those examined.

It is worth noting that Mr Ivashchenko was not the only former government official whose need for medical treatment was suddenly found to have disappeared.  Former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko was also moved to a hospital and then, during the weekend, returned to the Kachanivska Prison Colony.

Yury Lutsenko, Former Interior Minister was moved late last week back to the SIZO after two weeks of medical treatment.  Lutsenko returned to prison  His wife Iryna asserts that her husband’s two weeks of treatment in hospital ended as soon as the European Court of Human Rights public hearing in his case was over (on Tuesday) and the international experts left Ukraine.  She points out that the authorities know that Lutsenko’s defence alleges violation of Article 3 of the European Conveniton in connection with the failure to provide timely and proper medical care, this constituting inhuman and degrading treatment. 

Ms Lutsenko says that her husband has been returned to the SIZO with medical conditions, namely Digestive Tract Varicose Veins, the beginning stages of cirrhosis, confirmed sugar diabetes and viral hepatitis.

On Monday a preliminary hearing into the third charge against Yury Lutsenko which was unexpectedly separated from the other two a few months ago was held in Kyiv.  The court refused to dismiss the case (over supposedly illegal surveillance) and set the first hearing on the substance of the case for three weeks from now. 

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