20:46 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Ukrainian ex-Minister Lutsenko Jailed for Two Years

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    A Kiev court sentenced former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko to two years in prison on Friday over illegal surveillance, in his second trial this year.

    A Kiev court sentenced former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko to two years in prison on Friday over illegal surveillance, in his second trial this year.

    Lutsenko, 47, "organized illegal surveillance" of the chauffeur of Volodymyr Satsiuk, former deputy head of the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, the court ruled.

    The surveillance was part of an investigation into the poisoning of then presidential hopeful Viktor Yushchenko.

    The poisoning made Yushchenko seriously ill, scarring his face in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.

    The chauffeur, Valentyn Davydenko, has said he did not consider himself wronged, Ukraine's UNIAN news agency reports.

    Lutsenko was a close ally of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years in a controversial trial in October 2011.

    He was himself sentenced to four years in prison for abuse of office and embezzlement in his first trial in February.

    He maintains he is innocent, saying both trials against him were politically motivated.

    "I feel sorry for a country where there is such justice," Lutsenko said as the verdict was being read out on Friday.

    There was a strong security presence outside the downtown Kiev court as several dozen supporters protested nearby. 

    The European Court of Human Rights ruled last month that the 2010 arrest and detention of Lutsenko was "arbitrary" and ordered Ukraine to pay 15,000 euros in damages.

    Ukraine's opposition claims the trials against Tymoshenko and Lutsenko are part of a crackdown against the political opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych, although he denies any involvement.

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