Court hearing or ploy to keep Lutsenko away from the public view?


 Former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko’s lawyers have been informed that their application for Lutsenko’s release on health grounds will be examined in the “courtroom” in the Mensk Prison Colony where Lutsenko is held.

Lutsenko’s Narodna Samooborona Party reports the decision to hold the “court hearing” in the Mensk Prison Colony with considerable scepticism.  It turns out there is a courtroom, they write, and yet there are no premises for confidential meetings between lawyers and their clients as is required by law.  There are only cubicles for meetings between life prisoners and their lawyers through glass using a telephone.

In fact, they suggest that this specific arrangement has been concocted to keep Yury Lutsenko within the prison colony on the second anniversary of his detention.  Trhough this detention Ukraine was found by the European Court of Human Rights to have been in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Aside from words, there is no evidence of efforts to enforce this judgement.

Thus, on Monday 24 December O. Savchenko, judge from the Mensk District Court will conduct a hearing into the application from Yury Lutsenko’s lawyers for his release on medical grounds under Article 539 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The authors understandably ask what this novel form of court hearing means with regard to openness of court proceedings, access to journalists and international observers, etc.

They suggest that members of the media apply for accreditation by ringing the Mensk District Court in the Chernihiv oblast on 04644-2-14-73. 

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