The government put much more pressure on its predecessors before the New Year
Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs Yurii Lutsenko was arrested. First deputy Minister of Justice Yevhen Korniichuk, son-in-law to Vasyl Onopenko, head of the Supreme Court and BYuT member, was taken in custody. The Pechersk District Court in Kyiv rejected a request for his two-month arrest but extended his detention term to 10 days. After this term expires he may be arrested. Mr. Korniichuk is charged with signing a letter, as the first deputy Minister of Justice, in which he permitted a one-participant competition to “choose” a legal services provider for Naftohaz. On the day of his detention, his wife gave birth to their daughter. Both are in an intensive care unit in a difficult condition.
The General Prosecutor’s Office is also building a case against Viktor Bondar, former governor of Dnipropetrovsk oblast and ex-Minister of Transport and Communications. He has been charged with aiding and abetting deliberate destruction of assets. He was also detained but was released later when he gave a written undertaking not to leave the city of his residence.
On the same day, investigators from the Prosecutor’s General Office had Mykola Petrenko, CEO of the state-run Ukrmedpostach company, detained. A criminal case has been opened against him on charges under Part 5, Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, namely embezzlement of assets in especially large volumes. His activities are also being investigated as part of the case about the allegedly unlawful purchase of ambulance cars by the Yulia Tymoshenko government.
At the same time, authorities are trying to turn the criminal case about the 16 December 2010 beating of opposition MPs in the Verkhovna Rada against them by putting pressure on the victims, doctors and witnesses. In particular, Viacheslav Kyrylenko, leader of the For Ukraine! party, was interrogated about this case in the Department of Investigations in the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office. The last MP who sustained injuries in the parliamentary melee, BYuT member Mykhailo Volynets, was discharged from the Feofania clinical hospital. He says that despite this still poor condition he was forced to leave the hospital so that the doctor’s diagnosis could be falsified.
For Ukrainians incarcerated in the occupied territories and in the Russian Federation itself, things could get much worse in 2018. Only serious international pressure is likely to make Moscow release these political prisoners