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Jailed Former Ukrainian Minister Possibly Facing New Charge

Former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko gestures from a caged area inside the court during a verdict hearing in Kyiv in February.
KYIV -- Ukraine's jailed former interior minister could be facing new charges connected to the alleged poisoning of former President Viktor Yushchenko.

The lawyer for former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told RFE/RL that a Kyiv court was expected to decide whether Lutsenko will face a charge of ordering "illegal surveillance" in the Yushchenko case.

Yushchenko became ill after ingesting a potentially fatal amount of dioxin in 2004.

Lutsenko was a member of parliament at the time and a leading backer of the 2004 Orange Revolution that led to Yushchenko winning the presidency.

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

The United States and European Union have condemned the prosecutions of Lutsenko and his Orange Revolution ally, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, as politically motivated.