Europe: persecution of Serhiy Vlasenko is a step back for Ukraine from the EU

14:26, 07 March 2013
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Vice President of the European Parliament Jacek Protasiewicz has condemned the court’s decision to strip Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense counsel Serhiy Vlasenko of his deputy mandate, according to an Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"Negative events in Ukrainian politics. Yulia Tymoshenko’s defender – Serhiy Vlasenko was deprived of his deputy mandate. Patience is running thin," EP Vice President Jacek Protasiewicz wrote on Twitter.

He believes that this step by the authorities, despite calls of the international community, is yet another step back for Ukraine from signing the Association Agreement with the EU.

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.

Today the court deprived Serhiy Vlasenko of his mandate, despite the fact that he 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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