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Embassy Row: Politically motivated in Ukraine
The United States this week denounced Ukraine for stripping a lawyer of his seat in parliament because he serves as a defense attorney for Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is dubiously imprisoned for malfeasance in office and now also facing murder charges.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell issued a statement scathing in its diplomatic language after a court expelled Serhiy Vlasenko from the legislature, revoked his parliamentary immunity from prosecution and banned him from traveling outside Ukraine.
“These actions create an atmosphere that inhibits political competition and freedom of expression,” Mr. Ventrell said. “We call on the Ukrainian authorities to end politically motivated prosecutions of opposition leaders and to abide by their international commitments to the rule of law and democracy.”
In Ukraine, one of the nation’s highest courts ruled that Mr. Vlasenko violated the rules of office by practicing law while also serving in parliament. The ruling by the High Administrative Court opens Mr. Vlasenko to possible prosecution from Mr. Yanukovych’s cronies in the Justice Ministry.
Mrs. Tymoshenko, a pro-Western political opponent of Mr. Yanukovych, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 on charges that she abused her powers as prime minister by signing an energy deal with Russia, which provides Ukraine with natural gas.
Last month, prosecutor accused Mrs. Tymoshenko of involvement in the 1996 murder of Ukrainian businessman Evhen Shcherban. Prosecutors suspect he was killed in a dispute over control of Ukraine’s natural gas industry.
Jobless young people across financially troubled Europe are blaming bureaucrats in Brussels for their bleak employment hopes, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union warned Thursday.
“The most important thing is to create the recognition that 26 million unemployed is a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions,” he said at a conference sponsored by the Lisbon Council public policy center.
Unemployment in the EU is about 11 percent, and several nations are relying on massive economic bailouts from wealthier countries.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email email@example.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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