Trials and summonses of opposition figures continue
As reported, 18 National Deputies and others, including former political prisoner and founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, Levko Lukyanenko, were summoned to the police over the protests on Independence Day when scuffles broke out on Volodymyrska St. That particular street does not appear to have been named in the court ban which specified where opposition rallies were not permitted, however protesters were met by cordons of police and told they were breaking the court order. Levko Lukyanenko expressed his outrage and called for the criminal investigation to be terminated.
Many of the National Deputies have also been attending the trials continuing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, over the gas deal with Russia in 2009, and former Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko over alleged abuse of his position. Levko Lukyanenko [who was a BYUT National Deputy until 2007] asked the court to release Yulia Tymoshenko from detention under his guarantee. This application was rejected, as have been numerous others, including those from a number of Churches, well-known writers and intellectuals, and others.
It is not clear whether the National Deputies will be able to be present at the court trial if they are now themselves being summonsed over other criminal investigations.
Yulia Tymoshenko continues to display a sceptical attitude to the court which in her assessment is totally dependent on President Yanukovych’s Administration
On Friday, through her lawyers, Ms Tymoshenko registered an application in the same Pechersky District Court to have Viktor Yanukovych face charges over the gas agreements signed when he was Prime Minister in 2007.
The trial of Yulia Tymoshenko is with each new court hearing heightening the confrontation between the regime and the opposition.
However by Monday, following the unexpected move in Tymoshenko’s defence, the Segodnya newspaper (owned by Rinat Akhmetov billionaire and National Deputy from the Party of the Regions) reported that somebody called Vera Ivanova, a pensioner and nurse, had lodged another law suit against Tymoshenko demanding that she retract her statement that Yanukovych had ordered her arrest.
The court has refused to change the restraint measures following her detention on 5 August to one not involving remand in custody 12 times. There have been a number of expressions of concern from the West over the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko and her detention, and in general over apparent use of “selective justice”.
The BBC notes that President Yanukovych again on Monday stated that the regime would not interfere and that discussion of the Tymoshenko case by leaders of other countries could not influence the court.
Meanwhile former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko is to have a long wait. Remanded in custody (on grounds which have also elicited statements of concern within Ukraine and abroad – translator), since December last year, the court has now declared a break of three weeks for their holidays. The next hearing is scheduled for 19 September.
Media reports inform that two of the witnesses summoned have stated that the employment of Lutsenko’s driver, Leonid Prystulyuk was lawful. The prosecution has alleged that the abuses they accuse Lutsenko of include Prystulyuk having police service calculated and receiving major status and a one-room flat.
There are supposed to be 140 witnesses questioned which suggests that the trial will be drawn out.
The prosecutions of members of the opposition have aroused concern in EU countries and reminders to the Kyiv of the need to follow a democratic course.
Abridged from the report by the BBC Ukrainian Service (where the photos are from)