US disappointed by Lutsenko's conviction

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March 2, 2012, 3:03 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine
The United States is disappointed by the conviction of former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, the U.S. Mission to the OSCE has said in a statement posted on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. "Like the European Union, the United States is disappointed by the Feb. 27 conviction of former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko. We have voiced our concerns about selective, politically-motivated prosecution in Ukraine on multiple occasions, including the prosecution and conviction of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko," reads the statement.

In addition, the statement notes that thirteen former senior officials from the Tymoshenko-led government, including four cabinet ministers, five deputy ministers, two agency heads, one governor and the head of the state gas monopoly, have been charged with "alleged crimes relating to actions performed in their official capacities, such as abuse of office, excess of authority, and misappropriation of funds."

"The politically-motivated prosecution of opposition leaders, including Mr. Lutsenko and Mrs. Tymoshenko, raises serious concerns about the Government of Ukraine's commitment to democracy and rule of law, especially as we look to Ukraine's tenure as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2013," reads the statement.

The United States urged the Ukrainian government to free Lutsenko, Tymoshenko, and the other senior former government officials currently in detention. Washington believes they should have "an unrestricted ability to participate fully in political life."

On Febr. 27, 2012, the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv found Lutsenko guilty of committing official crimes and sentenced him to four years in prison, ruling to confiscate his property.
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