One of the most charismatic opposition leaders of Ukraine, former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko was detained on Dec. 26, 2010. He was charged with giving his driver an officer’s rank, pay and a 1-room apartment. However, Lutsenko’s predecessors have engaged in the same practices. The majority of witnesses say Lutsenko didn’t give them illegal orders. Many witnesses changed their pre-trial testimony explaining it by pressure from the authorities. Lutsenko says his case is a political reprisal by the Yanukovych regime, Radio Svoboda reported Dec. 25.
Experts say YuryLutsenko’s detention is a too harsh a measure for such flimsy charges. They say Lutsenko is kept behind bars because he poses a big threat to the existing regime.
Svyatoslav Olijnyk, non-affiliated member of the Rada committee on justice, says it was evident from the start that Lutsenko’s actions could be described as faulty, but not as criminal. The court could have obliged him to repay the alleged damage, but not keep him in prison for so long and without medical help.