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Ukrainian Ex-Minister Wants Witnesses Forced To Testify

Former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko
KYIV -- Former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko has requested that witnesses in his trial be forced to attend and testify, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Lutsenko, one of the leaders of the Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense (NUNS) parliament faction, was arrested in December 2010 and went on trial on May 23 for abuse of office and misappropriation of funds while he was interior minister.

At the trial on January 16, Lutsenko stated that he had looked through the list of the witnesses in his case prepared by the Prosecutor-General's Office and discovered that 10 of them have never been summoned to court and some 45 individuals who were officially summoned to his trial never appeared.

"More than 20 of those 45 potential witnesses have been summoned to court three or even five times," Lutsenko said. "I do not understand why the court does not force those people to come and testify in the hearings."

According to one charge against Lutsenko, he illegally helped his former personal driver, Leonid Pristuplyuk, to obtain an apartment in Kyiv.

In court on January 16, Lutsenko asked why no one from the commission that made the decision to allocate the apartment to Pristuplyuk was invited to testify.

Lutsenko, 47, also said he fears that his case may be forced to a quick conclusion. He said he is innocent of all charges and his case is politically motivated.

In October, members of the European Parliament officially expressed concern about the continued detention of Lutsenko and the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the premiers whose cabinet he served in.

Lutsenko was interior minister in 2005-06 and from 2007 to 2010. He became publicly known as one of the leaders of the 2005 Orange Revolution.

Read more in Ukrainian here