CVU condemns politically motivated verdict against Volodymyr Struk
The Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine views the verdict issued on 17 July against Volodymyr Struk to be politically motivated. Its real aim is to prevent a popular politician from taking part in the parliamentary elections in single-mandate electoral district No. 104.
Volodymyr Struk is the Head of the Yuvileine Settlement which has a population of voer 15 thousand and is part of Luhansk city. Struk’s popularity can be gauged by the fact that at the 2010 local elections 99% of the votes cast were for him. He is fairly well-known in Luhansk generally, and were he to take part in the elections in electoral district No. 104 he would be the clear favourite. His rating would at least be significantly higher than that of Volodymyr Honcharov who is most likely to be put forward in this electoral district by the Party of the Regions.
The link between the court trial and the beginning of the election campaign is demonstrated by the record speed with which the case was examined by the Artemivsk Court in Luhansk. The trial began on 27 June and by 17 July a one year suspended sentence had been passed. The file material, constituting 6 volumes was read out within the space of two hours while it took the court less time to reject 100 applications put forward by Struk’s lawyers, than it took to announce them. Struk was in hospital for one week of the 20 days duration of the trial.
Luhansk Regional CVU lawyers consider the classification of the crime Struk was charged with to be unique and extremely contentious from the subjective aspect of Article 210 of the Criminal Code. He has been found guilty of having signed, in his capacity as Settlement Head a decision passed in May 2010 by the Settlement Council regarding redistribution of budgetary funds. This resulted in money from the settlement budget not being passed over to the city council, but instead being used to pay for work on improvements to the settlement. It is thus considered a crime to have fulfilled his obligations as head, these being directly assigned him in the Law on Local Self-Government. Moreover the “severity” of the sentence is precisely such as is needed to preclude Struk from being able to register as parliamentary candidate.
The Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters is deeply concerned that the Luhansk authorities should be seeking to remove popular politicians from the electoral process by means of “fast-track” criminal prosecution on fairly dubious grounds.
Luhansk Regional Branch of the CVU