Monday, May 23, 2011

Back-pedalling over Lutsenko?

Today former minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko appeared in court but his appeals to be released on bail were denied, and he is back behind bars again.

He has, however, ended his month-long hunger strike.

Deputy prime minister Boris Kolesnikov, who it is commonly believed to behind Lutsenko's arrest in revenge for Lutsenko's brief imprisonment of Kolesnikov just over six years ago, today sounded a conciliatory note: "I'm sure if [his] lawyers analyse in depth the crimes of which he is accused, he can achieve a positive outcome for himself. At the moment, in essence, no one is actually saying anything. Everyone [just] talks about politics. In any case I hope he will defend himself with dignity."

There may be reasons why the maltreatment of Lutensko may be now tempered.

It looks as if "all those who played a role" in the arrest and death in custody in 2009 of the prominent Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and in the alleged cover up of the corruption he exposed, will pay a price...About one hundred of them, Russian prosecutors, judges and law enforcers, may be subjects of visa and financial sanctions in the USA. [check out link for more info]

The European Court of Human Rights are looking into Lutsenko's case too and have asked the Ukrainian authorities to explain the circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention. Two European ambassadors reportedly attended today's court hearing and Lutsenko's treatment is being closely observed by high-ranking European Helsinki committee observers. Yulia Tymoshenko, who was also present, later met with other European ambassadors.

Magnitsky died from from pancreatitis and heart failure while in detention in jail - Lutsenko's hunger strike has caused him to suffer similar ailments. He is due in court at the end of the week.

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