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European Court Opens Ukraine Minister Case

Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko looks out from the defendant's cage during a court session in Kyiv in February.
The European Court of Human Rights has begun hearings in the case of jailed former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.

Lutsenko has asked the court to rule whether his December 2010 arrest and subsequent detention were politically motivated.

In February Lutsenko was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for embezzlement and abuse of office.

Lutsenko has appealed his conviction and sentencing with the Ukrainian appeals court.

Lutsenko's lawyer, Valentyna Telichenko, said the case had "great significance" for the case of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 on similiar charges.

Both Tymoshenko and Lutsenko claim they are the victims of politically motivated repression by the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

With reporting by UNIAN