war crimes in Ukraine

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Lutsenko’s wife confirms that her husband is continuing his hunger strike



Following public claims that the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko who has been in custody since December 2010 was not in fact refusing food, Iryna Lutsenko publicly stated that her husband is only drinking sweetened coffee.

She stated that her husband had not made an official statement to the Head of the SIZO [remand unit] regarding his hunger strike since he had made such a statement in the court and there was no need to make it to the SIZO management.

She stressed that Yury Lutsenko had no complaints against the staff of the SIZO, that his hunger strike was purely in protest at the unlawful decision by the Kyiv Court of Appeal on 21 April to hold him in custody for yet another month.

She pointed out that since there is 24-hour video monitoring of the cell, the SIZO management are well aware that Lutsenko is indeed refusing food. “The confirmation of this is that today two of his cellmates were summoned to the management and asked to give testimony as to whether Yury Lutsenko was on hunger strike. These people testified under protocol that Yury Lutsenko is drinking only water, tea without sugar and coffee with sugar.  His blood pressure is checked everyday.

Yury Lutsenko, declared a hunger strike last Friday in protest at his continued remand in custody. He said that he had no other means left of expressing his protest against the violation of his human rights but to declare a hunger strike.  Lutsenko said that he would refuse to eat as long as his body held out

On Thursday 21 April the Kyiv Court of Appeal remanded Yury Lutsenko in custody for yet another month, thus allowing the application of the Prosecutor General’s Office which claimed that the period of custody needed to be extended to 5 months.  The court justified its position by saying that despite the fact that Yury Lutsenko had finished familiarizing himself with the case material, this had still not been done by his lawyer and the other person accused, Leonid Prystuplyuk, Lutsenko’s former driver.

The former minister was arrested on 26 December last year with the help of an SBU Special Forces Alfa unit when he left his home to walk the dog.

Yury Lutsenko is charged with abuse of position and causing losses to the State. He rejects the accusations and calls them politically motivated. 

International human rights organizations, as well as Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the EU and the USA have expressed concern at the selective nature of Ukrainian justice.

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