Czech Republic worried about Lutsenko verdict

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Feb. 29, 2012, 10:26 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
The Czech Foreign Ministry released a statement on Feb. 28 expressing its concern and displeasure regarding the verdict given in a criminal case against former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, Radio Liberty reported on Wednesday. "As in the case of Ms Yulia Tymoshenko, we have to underline the fact that the trial was far away from respecting European standards of the rule of law and human rights principles," reads the statement.

The ministry said it considered the trial and the four-year imprisonment of Lutsenko to be another evidence of selective and politically motivated justice in Ukraine and "a form of continuing political revenge against former government representatives."

The Czech Foreign Ministry noted that "all political forces in Ukraine should be free from all politically motivated criminal prosecution, especially the one based on an obsolete Criminal Code, and should have a chance to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections."

The Czech Republic "will continue to monitor developments in both appeal processes with Mr Lutsenko and Ms Tymoshenko and similar cases," according to the statement.

"The Czech Republic underlines that it supports the European integration ambitions of Ukraine but the condition for the progress towards this goal is that Ukraine acts as a fully democratic country respecting the rule of law," reads the statement.

On Feb. 27, the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv found Lutsenko guilty of official crimes and sentenced him to four years in prison, with confiscation of his property.

The leaders of the EU countries, the United States and Canada have condemned the verdict, calling it a signal on the continuation in Ukraine of the judicial practice that does not meet international standards.

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