Europe rights court rules Ukraine official's detention was arbitrary

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled unanimously [press release, PDF] that the arrest and detention of Ukraine's former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko [Aljazeera backgrounder] violated several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. The court found two violations of Article 5 Section 1 (right to liberty and security), one violation of Section 2 (right to be informed of the reasons for one's arrest), two violations of Section 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge), a violation of Section 4 (right to challenge the lawfulness of one's detention) and a violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights). The chamber found that the Ukrainian court system has failed to examine the lawfulness of Lutsenko's arrest and detained him illegally while failing to ensure the protection of his rights. In addition, the chamber criticized the fact that the national court used Lutsenko's denial of his guilt as a basis for his pre-trial detention. The chamber ordered that Lutsenko be compensated in the amount of 15,000 euros (USD $18,930). Lutsenko, an ally of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] was sentenced in February to four years in prison for abuse of office. He was arrested in 2010.

The ongoing prosecution of Tymoshenko has been highly controversial. In June a Ukrainian appeals court delayed her appeal hearing despite her announcement [JURIST reports] that she will cease all appeals in national courts. A day earlier, Tymoshenko was ordered [JURIST report] to be seen by a court-appointed doctor after she failed to appear at her tax evasion trial. The EU has consistently condemned [JURIST report] the former prime minister's conviction as politically-motivated, and has indicated that the prosecution could harm Ukraine's bid for EU accession. In August 2011, the Kiev Appeals Court refused an appeal of her detention for contempt charges for a lack of legal grounds to contest the arrest [JURIST reports]. In June 2011 Tymoshenko filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the ECHR alleging various violations of the European Convention of Human Rights and arguing that her charges were politically engineered by rival Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in the presidential election in March 2010, but Tymoshenko has claimed that widespread voter fraud contributed to the outcome.

 

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