Outcry as Ukraine jails another opposition figure

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Outcry as Ukraine jails another opposition figure

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The jailing of a former Ukrainian interior minister has prompted an outcry both in Kiev and around the world.

Yuriy Lutsenko, an ally of jailed opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko, was sentenced to four years for abuse of office on Monday.

Both Brussels and Washington have expressed their “disappointment”.

Vitaliy Klitschko from opposition party “UDAR” described the verdict as one on the country’s legal system.

“This is the end of Ukrainian justice,” he said. “This is one more sign of how we are losing our democratic achievements to dictatorship and authoritarian rule. Nobody has any doubt that there is a political undercurrent to the trials against Tymoshenko and Lutsenko”.

Before he was sentenced, Lutsenko, from the People’s Self Defence party told reporters the charges against him were politically motivated and he expected to be jailed.

Tymoshenko was also convicted of abuse of office and given a seven-year term back in October in a case which damaged ties with the West.

Speaking from outside the Kiev courthouse, our reporter, Sergio Cantone, said: “The opposition is riding the wave of protest, by saying that the rule of law is in danger in this country. For its part, the government says that it’s just fighting corruption as the international community has demanded.”