U.S.: actions by Ukrainian authorities regarding Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense counsel are politically motivated

10:23, 07 March 2013
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The U.S. State Department is urging the Ukrainian authorities to honor the will of Ukrainian voters as expressed in the October 2012 parliamentary elections, end politically motivated prosecutions of opposition leaders and abide by their international commitments to the rule of law and democracy, according to an Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"The United States is deeply concerned by recent steps taken in Ukraine to remove Members of Parliament from the Rada. We note with particular concern efforts to deprive Serhiy Vlasenko, a Member of Parliament and defense counsel for former Prime Minister Tymoshenko, of his seat in Parliament, his corresponding immunity from prosecution, and his right to travel outside Ukraine. These actions appear to be politically motivated due to his connection with Mrs. Tymoshenko," says a press statement released by the U.S. State Department.

The State Department also noted with concern the High Administrative Court’s extra-judicial decision last month to annul the mandates of Members of Parliament Pavlo Blaloha and Oleksandr Dombrovsky, who were elected in single mandate constituencies.

Last week Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Rybak used a falsified decision of the parliamentary rules committee to apply to the High Administrative Court to strip Serhiy Vlasenko of his deputy mandate for allegedly working as a lawyer while a deputy.

Serhiy Vlasenko has not worked as a lawyer since March 2008. He represents the interests of Yulia Tymoshenko as a defender on the basis of an agreement with the Batkivshchyna Party, not a commercial contract. On February 22, Serhiy Vlasenko filed an application with the Lviv Council of Lawyers to suspend his right to practice law so as to deny the authorities the opportunity to use this to groundlessly accuse him of alleged wrongdoing.

In late January 2013 it was learned that criminal proceedings had been opened against Serhiy Vlasenko under section 1, article 382 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for alleged non-fulfillment of a court order in a civil case involving the distribution of property in his divorce and for stealing his own car.

Serhiy Vlasenko has repeatedly said that the authorities plan to arrest him after revoking his deputy mandate.

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