Czechs Protest Against Verdict On Ukrainian Lutsenko

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Czech Republic has reacted with concern and apprehension to the verdict of a Ukrainian court that sentenced former minister of internal affairs Yuriy Lutsenko to four years in prison for embezzlement and abuse of power, the Czech Foreign Ministry told CTK Monday.

Yuriy Lutsenko and Yulia Tymoshenko

Like in the case of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Lutsenko's trial was a long way from European standards and principles of the observance of human rights, the Foreign Ministry said.

"We consider the trial and four-year prison sentence for Lutsenko another proof of selective and politically motivated execution of judiciary in Ukraine and a form of political revenge on former government representatives," it added.

The Foreign Ministry said it believed that no political force in Ukraine should be subjected to politically motivated criminal prosecution, "especially if it is based on an obsolete penal code."

Parties should have the opportunity to take part in elections, it added.

The court ruled that all property had to be confiscated from Lutsenko, one of Tymoshenko's closest collaborators.

He must pay the damages and must not perform any public post for three years.

The Foreign Ministry said it wanted to watch the cases of Lutsenko, Tymoshenko and others.

It said it supported Ukraine's European integration effort.

"We also stress that this objective depends on Ukraine's behaving like a democratic country respecting the rule of law," the ministry said.

In 2011, Prague granted asylum to Bohdan Danylyshyn, former minister in Tymoshenko's previous government.

This January, Tymoshenko's husband Oleksandr Tymoshenko applied for Czech asylum.

Source: Prague Daily Monitor