Lutsenko Release Nears Ukraine to EU Association - Polish President

KYIV, Ukraine, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The pardon and release from jail of the former two-time interior minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko is a step to restoring Ukraine's image and will near Association Agreement signing, reckons the President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski. While on the phone with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, President Komorowski thanked Ukraine's head of state for pardoning the convicted Lutsenko.

Komorowski appreciated Ukraine's efforts to move closer to signing the Association Agreement (AA) between the Eastern European country and the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in November 2013. The Polish leader hopes that Ukraine will make progress in meeting the requirements for signing the AA, including implementations of the reforms.

Another Polish leader Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of Poland and co-head of European Parliament Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, welcomed pardoning of Yuriy Lutsenko. "[Pardoning] shows that Ukraine is serious about association with the EU and really wants to sign the Association Agreement in Vilnius this autumn," commented Kwaśniewski.

Former Ukrainian minister and one of the opposition leaders Yuriy Lutsenko was arrested in late 2010 on the charges of embezzlement and abuse of office. The court ruling incriminated Lutsenko failing to observe lawful procedures in hiring and paying a close acquaintance of his while serving as interior minister. Additionally, the former state official was charged with budget overspending during Police Day celebrations in 2008-2009.

Sentenced to four years in prison in 2012, Lutsenko was released on April 7, 2013. After the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases ruled to keep the sentence in force on April 5, 2013, the presidential committee on pardons suggested Lutsenko should be freed.

The following presidential decree allowed pardoning of Yuriy Lutsenko, and five other people, including former environmental minister Heorhiy Filipchuk. Filipchuk was accused of abuse of office as he allowed a nearly UAH 1.5 million payment to the ministry lawyers.

Previously, Ukrainian opposition called both arrests - of Yuriy Lutsenko and Heorhiy Filipchuk - politically motivated. On March 20, 2013, the European Commission released a set of recommendations for Ukraine in terms of the reforms to further adopt European standards. These recommendations included elimination of the cases of selective justice in Ukraine.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine



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