Volodymyr Struk prevented from standing for election
Volodymyr Struk, whose conviction on 17 July 2012 was condemned by the Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine as politically motivated, has had his appeal partially allowed but his hopes to run in the October elections dashed.
According to Vostochny Variant, which cites its own sources, on 3 September 2012 the Luhansk Regional Court of Appeal reduced the sentence against Mr Struk, revoking any punishment but leaving the conviction intact. The decision is up to the Central Election Commission however it is likely that he will not be allowed to run in the parliamentary elections. The source says that Mr Struk’s defence plan to approach the Supreme Court, but the latter would take up to 6 months whereas the elections are in less than two.
As reported, Volodymyr Struk is the Head of the Yuvileine Settlement which is part of Luhansk city. At the 2010 local elections 99% of the votes cast were for him, and CVU believes that if he were to take part in the elections in electoral district No. 104 he would be the clear favourite. His main rival would be Volodymyr Honcharov from the Party of the Regions.
CVU believed that confirmation of the link between the beginning of the election campaign and Struk’s conviction was 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.
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 was 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.
The fact that the sentence has now been reduced, but the conviction – preventing him from standing for election – has been upheld gives even more grounds for seeing the prosecution as politically motivated.