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Exiled opposition candidate applies to European Court of Human Rights


Romanyuk and Zasukha

Viktor Romanyuk, opposition candidate for one of the problem constituencies at last year’s parliamentary elections, has applied to the European Court of Human Rights over the detention order issued by investigative bodies against him which has forced him to stay in Italy and led to him temporarily being detained by the Italian authorities.

As reported, Viktor Romanyuk stood for election in the parliamentary elections as opposition Batkivshchyna Party candidate in single mandate election district No. 94.  He was clearly in the lead until his main opponent, Party of the Regions candidate, and wife of the former Kyiv Regional Governor, Tetyana Zasukha, applied to the court to have the election results in some precincts cancelled.  At the time the election watchdog OPORA noted that the court rejected such applications when under media scrutiny but in other cases allowed these applications, cancelling 30 thousand votes.

The scandal over this led to the Central Election Commission deciding that a re-election was needed.  These have only recently been scheduled for December 2013, i.e. almost 14 months after the parliamentary elections.  Batkivshchyna confirmed on 25 September that Romanyuk will be their candidate.

Viktor Romanyuk will, however, be campaigning from Italy. Like Arsen Avakov a year earlier the criminal case dredged up has meant that he can effectively only return to Ukraine if elected since he will gain immunity.

Viktor Romanyuk was arrested in Italy on 22 March after being placed on the Interpol wanted list. A court later found no grounds for his extradition.

The criminal investigation concerns an alleged attempt to steal State property on a large scale and is linked to the Indar insulin factory of which Romanyuk was Deputy Director. It dates back to 2008 and Romanyuk was not a suspect when he ran for parliamentary office in October 2012,

Romanyuk told Ukrainska Pravda that he had complained to the European Court of Human Rights that the detention order which led to the events in Italy had been unlawful.  He says that the appeal court in Milan found indications of political persecution and that, after all necessary procedural moves in Ukraine, he had applied to the court in Strasbourg.

He says that it is clear to him that there is no chance of the criminal case being closed or objectively investigated before the end of the election campaign and re-run of the elections in December. 

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