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RIA Novosti

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Ukrainian court sanctions arrest of ex-interior minister Lutsenko

Former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko
18:49 27/12/2010

The Pechyorsky Court of Kiev officially sanctioned on Monday the arrest of former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who is suspected of abusing his power of office.

Lutsenko was detained by Ukraine's security service, SBU, while walking his dog on Sunday morning. Lutsenko later said that he was charged with abuse of office while investigating the poisoning of former president Viktor Yushchenko.

Several dozen people from Lutsenko's political party, the People's Self-Defense, are currently rallying in front of the court's building in protest to his arrest.

Oleksandr Turchinov, a former first vice premier and one of the leaders of Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc, Batkivshchyna, said his party would support the People's Self-Defense party in initiating an extraordinary session of the Ukrainian Parliament in regard to the arrest of Lutsenko.

Lutsenko's spokeswoman, Irina Kisil, said earlier that the former interior minister faces up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

Former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election with TCDD - the most harmful known dioxin - that badly disfigured his face, leaving him looking weak, bloated and years older.

He was defeated by incumbent Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by then Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Orange Revolution protests overturned the election results and brought Viktor Yushchenko to power.

Last week, former prime minister turned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was charged with misusing $425 million of state funds while in office. She has rejected the accusation, saying she is being targeted for challenging Yanukovych.

KIEV, December 27 (RIA Novosti) 

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RIA NovostiFormer interior minister Yuriy LutsenkoUkrainian court sanctions arrest of ex-interior minister Lutsenko

18:49 27/12/2010 The Pechyorsky Court of Kiev officially sanctioned on Monday the arrest of former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who is suspected of abusing his power of office.>>

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