Ukraine high court rejects appeal by jailed Tymoshenko ally

Ukraine's high court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, a close ally of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, against his four year jail term for abuse of office and embezzlement.

The High Specialised Court of Ukraine confirmed the sentence, meaning that Lutsenko, who has complained of health problems, will stay in prison until the end of December 2014, an AFP correspondent reported.

Lutsenko was arrested while walking his dog in Kiev in December 2010. His imprisonment and that of Tymoshenko has led to a crisis in relations between Kiev and the European Union, which has complained that authorities are selectively persecuting opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych.