A Ukrainian court on Friday handed down a two-year prison sentence to the former interior minister under ex-Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. Yuriy Lutsenko was convicted and sentenced for negligence in authorizing an illegal extension of surveillance [Reuters report] over another former official's driver. Lutsenko is already serving a four-year sentence for embezzlement and abuse of office. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] could overturn the embezzlement conviction. While no jail time will likely be added to his current sentence as a result of Friday's ruling, the separate sentence means that Lutsenko will not be released if the ECHR does decide to vacate the first conviction. The ECHR has already ruled that Lutsenko's arrest on the initial charges was illegal. Lutsenko is likely to appeal the negligence conviction. Tymoshenko herself was sentenced to seven years [JURIST report] on corruption charges last year.
Earlier this week Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court declined to overturn a lower court decision prohibiting Lutsenko and Tymoshenko from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections [JURIST report], confirming the August 11 decision of the Kyiv Administrative Appeal Court upholding the Central Electoral Commission's resolution No. 216 of August 8 in which it refused to register Tymoshenko and Lutsenko as parliamentary candidates. Last month a Ukrainian appeals court postponed [JURIST report] the appeal hearing challenging Tymoshenko's corruption conviction and seven-year sentence, marking the third postponement in that case. Her tax evasion trial began [JURIST report] in April but has also been postponed several times. In May the ECHR ended an investigation [JURIST report] into the health care conditions of Tymoshenko, finding that the Ukrainian government provided her with adequate care. She previously alleged that prison guards were beating her and she refused to be treated [JURIST report] by prison doctors for back problems, believing they were under the direction of political rival President Viktor Yanukovych.