Lutsenko trial continues with “victim” still absent
On Friday 1 June the trial continued of former Minister of the Interior and opposition leader Yury Lutsenko on the third charge against him over surveillance linked with the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. This was, late in the previous trial, unexpectedly made into a separate case. One of the reasons appeared to be problems with witnesses’ appearance and the sudden speed with which the first trial was pushed towards a verdict condemned as politically motivated by all democratic countries. It is ironical therefore that Judge Medushevska suggested at the last hearing on 18 May that the trial could continue without the alleged victim, Valentin Davydenko, former driver of the former Deputy Head of the SBU [Security Service]. Yury Lutsenko is accused of having unlawfully reinstated surveillance of him. Yushchenko had been taken ill after dining with SBU people at the dacha of the Deputy Head of the SBU and Davydenko’s immediate employer.
Following categorical protest from Yury Lutsenko and his lawyers, the Judge agreed to have Davydenko forcibly brought to the court.
The trial however resumed on Friday without Davydenko. The Judge stated that he had sent a telegram saying his state of health precluded him from attending, but saying that he confirmed his testimony.
Yury Lutsenko again expressed his protest at Davydenko’s absence and that of the Prosecutor Dmytro Loban.
This was rejected by the judge.
As reported many times, the last trial saw witness after witness stating in court that their testimony had been distorted, that they had been put under pressure or, simply, that the behaviour with which Lutsenko was charged, had been and remained standard practice within the Ministry. All of this was ignored.
A number of witnesses were allowed, despite protest from the defence, to have their testimony simply read out by the Judge, giving the defence no chance to cross examine them.
Then without the defendant …
Later, when the Prosecutors were reading the indictment, Yury Lutsenko made several comments complaining that his rights had been violated since neither he nor his defence team had been given copies of the indictment. Judge Medushevska issued several reprimands and warnings, and then order Yury Lutsenko removed from the courtroom.
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