Opposition Leaves Rada To Protest Against Lutsenko's Detention

KIEV, Ukraine -- MPs of the BYT-Batkivschyna and Our Ukraine – People's Self-Defense factions on Friday left the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, to protest against the detention of former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.

Former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.

"Today we're leaving the session hall to protest against the persecution of opposition politicians," leader of the OU-PSD faction Mykola Martynenko said in parliament.

"It is obvious that the persecution of Yuriy Lutsenko is selective and political," the OU-PSD faction leader said.

According to him, 87 MPs of the OU-PSD faction addressed the Pechersky District Court of Kiev with a request to urgently change the form of pretrial restrictions imposed on Yuriy Lutsenko.

"About one hundred signatures were gathered to release Yuriy Lutsenko on bail. If needed, we are ready to put up bail for him, the whole sum that is [indicated in the charges]," Martynenko said.

He pointed out that the government would be fully responsible for the possible consequences of a hunger strike by Lutsenko

As reported, Lutsenko has been held in jail since December 26, 2010.

He has been charged under Part 5, Article 191 (large-scale embezzlement of state property through the abuse of office, under a preliminary collusion by a group of individuals), Part 3, Article 365 (abuse of office, which led to grave consequences), and Part 3, Article 364 (the abuse of power and office by a law enforcer, which caused damage to citizens' rights as protected by the law) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

On January 28, the pre-trail investigation into the criminal case against Lutsenko and three more former officials of the ministry evaluated the losses caused by them to the state at over UAH 970,000.

Kiev Court of Appeals on April 22 extended Lutsenko's arrest until May 26, and after that he announced his intention to go on hunger strike from April 22.

On April 28, the former minister, in a letter to leadership of Kiev pretrial detention center, declared his intention to go on hunger strike.

At present Lutsenko is in the Kiev city clinical emergency hospital, where he was transferred from the medical unit of the pretrial detention center.

On May 17, the Prosecutor General's Office sent the criminal case against Lutsenko to the Pechersky Court of Kiev.

The date of the preliminary hearing is set for May 23.

Source: Interfax