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U.S Urges Ukraine to Free Jailed Ex-Premier After Ally Pardoned

The U.S. urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to free former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison after he pardoned one of her allies.

Releasing former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko is “an important step” toward addressing concerns over democracy and the rule of law, Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Much more remains to be done,” she said. “We urge Ukrainian authorities to end all politically motivated prosecutions, undertake comprehensive judicial reform to ensure such selective justice does not recur, and fully implement the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recommendations made after the 2012 parliamentary elections.”

Yanukovych pardoned Lutsenko April 7 after the European Union sought his release as a condition for progressing with an association agreement and free-trade pact. The accord was delayed indefinitely after Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011, a move the 27-member bloc deems an example of selective justice.

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