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29.01.2013

Lutsenko not allowed visits from his wife / defender or other lawyers

   

  Valeria Lutkovska, Human Rights Ombudsperson asserts that the refusal to allow Yury Lutsenko, presently in a private clinic in Kyiv following an operation, visits from his wife / defence counsel, Iryna and other lawyers, is lawful. She adds that she will not be intervening.   Her position is sharply disputed by Lutsenko’s defence lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights, Valentina Telychenko and the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Arkady Bushchenko.

Ms Lutkovska told journalists on Monday that legislation envisages that a prisoner in hospital may not receive visitors, parcels etc.  These, she asserted, were the rules which she couldn’t change.

Valentina Telychenko rejected Lutkovska’s stance saying that a person has the right to see his defence counsel wherever he is. Iryna Lutsenko is not only the former Interior Minister’s wife, but his defender, and there can be no such restrictions.

Arkady Bushchenko totally agrees.  Regardless of where a prisoner he, he has the unconditional right to see his defence counsel and to legal assistance in general, he says. “This right is enshrined in the Constitution and nobody has revoked it”. He does, however, acknowledge that the constitutional right is not regulated at the level of Ukrainian legislation.  That however is a problem of normative legislation and does not mean that a person, by ending up in hospital, is deprived of a fundamental constitutional rights. Especially, he adds, as the person may even need legal assistance more than in normal circumstances.

Yury Lutsenko underwent an operation to remove intestinal polyps on 23 January.

The former Interior Minister and opposition leader  is serving a four-year sentence which has been condemned by all democratic countries as politically motivated.  Following his first sentence in February, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Jean-Claude Mignon, was entirely unequivocal. 

"It is unacceptable for former members of the government of a Council of Europe member state to be prosecuted for political reasons. This practice is contrary to the rule of law and takes Ukraine further away the principles of our organisation as well as the European integration to which this country aspires.

There is still no sign of real implementation of the judgement handed down by the European Court of Human Rights on 3 July.  The Court  “held unanimously, that there had been: two violations of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of Mr Lutsenko’s arrest and ensuing detention; a violation of Article 5 § 2 (right to be informed of the reasons for one’s arrest); two violations of Article 5 § 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge) on account of both his arrest and his pre-trial detention; a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to challenge the lawfulness of one’s detention); and a violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) in conjunction with Article 5

The Court held in particular: that Mr Lutsenko’s arrest had been arbitrary; that no valid reasons had been given for his detention; that he had not been duly informed of the reasons for his detention; and, that the lawfulness of his arrest and detention had not been properly reviewed.

The Court also found that, given that the prosecutors had referred to Mr Lutsenko’s communication with the media as one of the reasons for his arrest, his right to liberty had been restricted for other reasons than those permissible under Article 5.

The judgement in full can be read here: #{"itemid":["001-112013"]}

Comments from the Ombudsperson, Valentina Telychenko and Arkady Bushchenko from Holos Ameryki

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