Thursday, October 22, 2009

Presumption of innocence - what's that?

President Yushchenko today blundered into the political fray surrounding a major sex abuse scandal in which three BYuT parliamentary deputies are allegedly implicated. The deputies have been questioned but, until now, have not had to face any charges.

At a public meeting where the Prosecutor-General Oleksandr Ivanovych Medvedko was also present, the president addressed the P.G. directly:

"Recall this scandal, which today is taking place in Ukrainian society, when in the highest levels of government we have, excuse me, paedophiles, people who bring colossal harm to our morals..But, unfortunately, today they have [are protected by] a [parliamentary] mandate."

"I think that the [same] fate [as that] of Lozinsky awaits them The same political shelter, and after a few weeks we will be hunting them via Interpol, Oleksandr Ivanovych."

[Viktor Lozinsky was a BYuT parliamentary deputy. He is the prime suspect in a murder case and is now on the run. He has been stripped of his seat in parliament.]

"And so we are playing a game, which Oleksandr Ivanovych, will end the same way as with Lozinsky, who was released, who was protected by a political force. Now [we have] episode two - with paedophiles," added Yushchenko.

The president's highly prejudicial, almost Stalinist comments are astonishing, particularly to a western observer, and can only be seen as a most crude attempt to discredit the political force of one of his main rivals in next January's presidential election. Furthermore, if no charges are brought against the three BYuT deputies, or if they have sound alibis, it will be the president who be accused of co-instigating very dirty political games. Hints of this are already being aired.

Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych's statements on this affair have been more measured. "My attitude to this question [i.e. the scandal] is extremely negative. If this fact took place, [if it] is confirmed, I don't even know what to call it."

"Only bad words keep coming back [to me] - I would rip off that place which you do not have," he added when answering a female journalist's question.

[He may have had previous experience of such procedures. On the Melnychenko tapes, secretly recorded several years ago, Yanukovych is heard to promise to "..hang up by his balls for a night" Oleksandr Tupytskiy, a judge in the Donetsk region.]

'Segodnya', in a fair-minded article, today informed its readers that minister of the interior, Yuriy Lutsenko, told journalists that his ministry have opened a criminal case concerning the alleged $2m blackmail of one of the BYuT deputies accused of child molestation.

Lutsenko claimed in parliament a couple of days ago that he had a PDA recording of the child victims' lawyer attempting to blackmail one of BYuT deputies concerned.

p.s. Dmytro Polyukhovych, the central figure and in this nasty business and father of the two victims, was detained two months ago and remains in custody.

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