war crimes in Ukraine

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Family reports that Yury Lutsenko is being force-fed

05.05.2011    source:
Iryna Lutsenko was speaking after her visit on Wednesday to the remand unit where her husband, former Minister of Internal Affairs whose prosecution and continued remand in custody has elicited statements of concern both within Ukraine and abroad, has gone on hunger strike in protest


Iryna Lutsenko has reported, after visiting her husband, that members of staff at the Lukyanivsk Pre-Trial Detention Centre [SIZO] have been force-feeding him since 1 May.

She said that force-feeding is a form of torture and that the assertion from the Prosecutor General’s Office that he is eating of his own free will is a lie.

She passed on Lutsenko’s words that a for the force-feeding they are using a “white substance that stinks a metre away”.  This is the food that the Prosecutor General’s Office for some reason calls a “high-calorie nutritional mixture”.

Iryna Lutsenko reports that her husband has long 14 kilograms since being remanded in custody, and that his state of health has seriously worsened as a result of his hunger-strike. His blood pressure has begun fluctuating from 90 over 40 to 130 over 110, and there is also a very high level of acetone in his blood, which is seen with people on hunger strike after around 8 days.  She is therefore scathing of what she calls the irresponsible blathering of some representatives of the Party of the Regions claiming that he is not refusing food.  She says that since he stopped eating, various doctors have been seeing him every day.

“Yura said that he has had visits from a woman dentist and a speech therapist. He told the latter that he was already over 40 and that it was a bit late to start changing his pronunciation now”.

Yury Lutsenko’s brother, Serhiy, citing the lawyers who visited him on Wednesday, also confirmed that his brother is refusing food.   He also confirmed the statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office that his brother was in the same cell as before, but that he was alone, since according to the SIZO internal regulations, when one person goes on hunger strike, the other prisoners have to be moved

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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