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Ukrainian Prosecutor Says Yanukovych's Justice Minister Detained On 'Coup' Charges


Oleksandr Lavrynovych, former minister of justice of Ukraine (file photo)

Ukraine's prosecutor-general has said that former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych's justice minister has been detained over allegations that he participated in an illegal "coup d'etat" in 2010.

A court in Kyiv has placed Oleksandr Lavrynovych, 61, in provisional detention for 60 days, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said in a statement on September 15.

Lavrynovych is accused of having participated in a "coup d'etat" due to his role in pushing for the adoption of a controversial constitutional reform that increased the powers of the president.

The reform was adopted in 2010 by Ukraine's Constitutional Court, but not by parliament, making it illegal, according to Lusenko.

The pro-Western opposition in Ukraine at the time said the reforms amounted to a "coup d'etat."

Unlike other top officials from Yanukovych's pro-Russia government, Lavrynovych remained in Ukraine after pro-European protests in February 2014 forced out Yanukovych, who fled to Russia, where he lives in exile.

Yanukovych is on trial in absentia in Kyiv, accused of high treason and having violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AFP , RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, and Interfax
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