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15 Jun, 2021 11:04

Ukrainian opposition leader Medvedchuk lodges complaint in European Court of Human Rights as Kiev’s political crackdown continues

Ukrainian opposition leader Medvedchuk lodges complaint in European Court of Human Rights as Kiev’s political crackdown continues

Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of Ukraine’s largest opposition party, has lodged an appeal with Europe’s top civil liberties court over what he claims is a politically motivated effort by Kiev prosecutors to land him behind bars.

A statement issued by one of his party’s MPs, Renat Kuzmin, set out the grounds for the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday. Kuzmin, who served as the country’s first deputy prosecutor general prior to the 2014 Maidan revolution, explained that Medvedchuk believes the charges are of a political nature, and claimed that officials are “violating his right to a fair trial, and of liberty and personal security.”

The politician added that the legal bid can be considered by the court as a priority issue, and that a decision could be given relatively quickly. Medvedchuk is currently under house arrest while prosecutors prepare a case against him for “high treason.” While details are yet to be made public, it is believed they are linked to alleged business interests in Crimea, which was reabsorbed by Russia in 2014.

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Medvedchuk’s party, Opposition Platform – for Life, draws much of its support from Russian speakers in the east and south of the country, and has advocated a less confrontational approach to Moscow than the one pursued by authorities in Kiev since the Maidan. However, he has rejected claims from nationalist politicians that he is tied to a pro-Kremlin agenda and insisting he represents a legitimate segment of the Ukrainian population, saying that he would “completely throw out accusations of so-called pro-Russianness... Our party received millions of votes of confidence during the last elections.”

READ MORE: Ukrainian opposition leader facing treason charges denies he's ‘pro-Russia’ – insisting he represents millions of ordinary voters

In an exclusive interview in February, the opposition leader told RT that political prosecution for “crimes like treason and espionage is commonplace” in Ukraine, but said he would not consider fleeing the country. “I feel like I’m ready to fight – to fight against arbitrariness, against repression, against falsification… I am prepared to stand up to these threats,” he said.

If convicted of the crimes that Ukraine’s prosecutors are seeking to pin on him, the opposition leader could face up to 15 years in one of the country’s prisons.

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