(OPINION, but a pretty damned good one at that.)
Two down and we expect more to go. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich seems intent on jailing anyone who might challenge him in the next election as a Kyiv (Kiev) court sentenced Yuri Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former interior minister, to four years in prison for charges of embezzlement and abuse of office. Lutsenko was considered by some as a future challenger to Yanukovich.
In October former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko was given a seven-year sentence. Tymoshenko almost beat Yanukovich in the 2010 election and was seen by the Yanukovich as the first opponent to prosecute given her popularity and potential of challenging the former-convicted-criminal-with-known-mafia-ties-turned-president in upcoming elections.
Human rights organizations have continued to warn of a growing rollback of democratic freedoms under the Yanukovich presidency and the Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights issued a statement saying: “Whatever sentence will be passed in the Lutsenko case it is not the result of a fair trial in a legal system respecting the rule of law and basic human rights principles.”
President Yanukovich, despite his past prison sentences and long ties to the Ukrainian mafia, says that his administration is waging a crackdown on corruption. That would be quite a feat given his background! Justice from the Yanukovich administration? What a joke as just recently the son of a high ranking official in the Yanukovich administration was given a suspended sentence for murder.
So, President Yanukovich, who is next?