KIEV, April 7 – RAPSI. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has pardoned jailed former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, according to the decree posted on the president’s website on Sunday.

Lutsenko, an ally of jailed ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was sentenced in February 2012 to four years in prison for embezzling state funds and abuse of power.

Lutsenko, who was arrested in December 2010, was found guilty of illegally employing and giving an apartment and pension to his former driver as well as of overspending government funds during Police Day celebrations in 2008 and 2009, when he was in office. The total damage caused by Lutsenko to Ukraine’s budget was estimated at $125,000.

Another criminal case against Lutsenko was based on accusations of illegal eavesdropping and spying on the driver of former First Deputy Chief of the Ukrainian Security Service, Vladimir Satsyuk. The matter was being considered as part of former President Viktor Yushchenko's poisoning case.

The former Interior Minister has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying his trial was politically motivated.

Ukrainian human rights envoy Valeria Lutkovskaya earlier appealed to Yanukovych with a request to pardon Lutsenko due to his deteriorating health condition in prison. Lutsenko was scheduled to leave prison in late 2014.

Following the prudential decree, Lutsenko has been released from jail, the Ukrainian penal service said.

“Today [Sunday] the [presidential] decree [on pardoning several convicts was executed in full and all the convicts were freed from prison,” the penal service’s press office reported.

Among those pardoned is former Environmental Minister Georgy Filipchuk.

The pardoning of Lutsenko is an act of mercy towards an illegitimately convicted person, the ex-interior minister’s lawyer Alexei Baganets said.

“I qualify the presidential decree as an act of mercy toward the person who was illegitimately arrested, wrongfully convicted and who contracted a whole bunch of grave diseases in prison,” Baganets told RIA Novosti over the phone.