Concern and anger over break in Lutsenko’s hospital treatment


 The sudden transfer of imprisoned former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko back to the Mensk Prison Colony from the clinic in Kyiv where he had undergone surgery has aroused outrage both from his family and others within Ukraine, and from abroad.  Concern was expressed through the day by EU representatives.

The State Penitentiary Service claims that it was the doctors who decided that Lutsenko could be discharged and that it is untrue that this was sudden. The doctors at the Oberih Clinic refused to comment on Yury Lutsenko’s condition saying that this was confidential medical information.

The former Minister’s wife and defence counsel Iryna Lutsenko told the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service that she was appalled by the Penitentiary Service’s behaviour and considered it an attempt on her husband’s life. She said that after an operation to remove intestinal polyps, there had been preparations for a second operation with these hampered after doctors discovered that Lutsenko has a stomach ulcer.  At the clinic there were qualified doctors and the necessary equipment and medicine. There is none of this at the Mensk Prison Colony, she says.   The Penitentiary Service also denied that Yury Lutsenko was being prepared for a second operation.

Iryna Lutsenko calls the transfer of her husband back to prison conditions torture and unwillness by the authorities to provide him with treatment.  She says that neither she nor her husband are inclined to compromise with the regime and that they will appeal against all unlawful actions in court.  She says that if they don’t consider them now, with time they will get ther relevant legal assessment which will carry liability for those responsible.

EU representatives also spoke of concern

As reported, Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, .tweeted his concern that Lutsenko had been moved following a serious operation.

Mr Füle had already stated earlier that he hoped to see Lutsenko during his visit to Kyiv on 7-8 February.

Immediately after learning that Lutsenko had been moved, his wife had a meeting with the EU Ambassador to Ukraine, Jan Tombiński.  A spokesperson from the EU Office in Kyiv David Stupik said that he could not comment on the meeting, but did state that the EU was “extremely concerned” over the sudden transportation of Lutsenko from hospital to the prison colony.

He quoted an EU statement calling on the Ukrainian government to take responsibility for the humanitarian aspects and for Lutsenko’s health, as well as for the risks linked with his return to the prison.  The statement apparently calls on the Ukrainian authorities to observe Lutsenko’s right to see his relatives and to have telephone contact with them, as well as to receive legal assistance. As reported here, Yury Lutsenko was refused permission to even see his wife who is also his defence counsel while at the clinic in Kyiv. 

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