Entries in Yulia Tymoshenko (3)


Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko Suspected in Murder Case

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Former Ukrainan Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a galvanizing figure in the Orange Revolution of 2004, has been named a suspect in the murder of a powerful businessman and lawmaker and three others in 1996.

Supporters of Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year sentence in a separate case, say the accusations are just the latest in an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovich to keep his rival behind bars.

The prosecutor's announcement comes as the European Court of Human Rights is expected to rule that Tymoshenko's current imprisonment is illegal. The fiery opposition leader's party said the new case is just a way for the government to keep her in jail when that happens.

"Understanding that the European Court of Human Rights will put an end to the dirty and empty tricks against Yulia Tymoshenko in the near future, Yanukovich's associates have resorted to a desperately brazen and mendacious step," the Fatherland party said in a statement.

"They are no longer hiding that they want to hold not only the opposition leader but all of Ukraine behind bars for life," it said.

The European Union has called her jailing "selective justice."

The 52-year-old is suspected of "ordering and organizing" a hit on the life of Yevhen Scherban and three others, who were shot to death as they stepped off an airplane, the Prosecutor General's Office said on its website.

Scherban was a member of Parliament and one of Ukraine's richest men. At the time of the killing, Tymoshenko was a prominent gas trader. Prosecutors said the alleged hit appeared to stem from a business rivalry.

Tymoshenko has not yet been formally charged, but the announcement of her status as a suspect paves the way for prosecutors to pursue charges.

The latest allegations come just weeks before the European Court of Human Rights is expected to issue a ruling on the detention of Tymoshenko.

She is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power for ordering a gas deal with Russia in 2009. Prosecutors claimed she did not have cabinet approval to proceed with the deal and that it is was detrimental to Ukraine's economy. She denied the charges.

Tymoshenko said she believes her prosecution and detention are politically motivated and that she has not been granted judicial review, the court said in a news release. She also complained about inadequate jail conditions, according to the release, and said she has not been afforded proper medical care for her health issues, which reportedly include a debilitating back condition.

Tymoshenko co-led the Orange Revolution in 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians protested in response to allegations of widespread fraud in the election of Viktor Yanukovich over rival Viktor Yushchenko.

Thousands of Ukrainians occupied the center of Kyiv, insprired by the fiery speeches of Tymoshenko, and the movement only grew until the election results were voided and Yushchenko was elected president in a new vote.

Tymoshenko briefly served as acting prime minister in 2005. She was elected in December 2007 and served until March 2010.

She was convicted on the abuse of power charges in October 2011 and was banned from holding public office for three years.

The imprisonment of Tymoshenko has contributed to unrest in the country.

The Oct. 28, 2012 election was marred by claims of stuffing the ballot box.

That anger boiled over in December when a brawl erupted in the newly elected Parliament.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mixing Sport and Politics? Countries Threaten to Boycott Euro Cup

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/GettyImages(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- Outrage over Ukraine’s treatment of an opposition leader has sparked calls in Europe to do the unthinkable: boycott Europe’s biggest soccer tournament. What was supposed to be Ukraine’s coming-out party may now turn into its biggest embarrassment.
European leaders met in Brussels Monday to debate whether to shun this year’s Euro Cup, which Ukraine and Poland will jointly host in less than a month, over Kiev’s mistreatment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko, the photogenic blonde opposition leader who helped spark the 2004 Orange Revolution, was convicted last year of abusing her office and sentenced to seven years in jail. Many in the West decried the trial as politically motivated. Authorities responded by doubling down with more charges. Though Tymoshenko is popular in the West and has a significant following in Ukraine, it has been said that the jailed political leader is no angel and has been accused of questionable practices and dealings before.
Tymoshenko went on a long hunger strike after she said prison guards beat her in jail last month. Her daughter Eugenia said she was very ill and had been denied proper medical care.
As a result, several countries have already threatened to pull out. Some have said they just won’t send any political leaders to attend the matches. Others are suggesting they not send their national teams. Even the opposition in co-host Poland have suggested Ukraine isn’t fit to host the games. From jail, Tymoshenko has asked that political leaders not attend, but she very much would like the teams to come and the games go on as planned.
The growing diplomatic row has already stung. Ukraine had to cancel plans for a regional summit last this week after a number of leaders said they wouldn’t attend in protest.
Organizers had hoped these games would showcase progress in eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War, but they may instead be shedding light on the fact that old school strongman politics are alive and well in this part of the world. Some have worried, however, that such a move will only drive Ukraine closer to Moscow.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alleged Abuse of Former Ukrainian PM Causes Euro 2012 Boycott

STR/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The Euro 2012 soccer tournament is helping bring to light the controversy surrounding former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s imprisonment on what her supporters say are trumped up charges.

Tymoshenko, 51, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 for allegedly abusing her power and is currently serving her sentence. The European Union condemned the conviction, calling it “selective justice.”

Tymoshenko claimed she was severely beaten by prison guards, and has been on a hunger strike since April 20 in protest of her alleged mistreatment.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said Friday that there are no grounds for Tymoshenko’s claims.

Pshonka denied Tymoshenko’s request to launch a criminal investigation against those who allegedly mistreated her.

Tymoshenko, who has a herniated disc, refused to be treated by Ukrainian doctors, but agreed to begin medical treatment Tuesday at a hospital near the prison under the supervision of a German doctor.

German and Russian officials have offered to treat Tymoshenko in their respective countries, but Ukrianian law does not allow prisoners to leave the country for medical treatment.

Ukraine is scheduled to co-host the Euro 2012 Championship with Poland beginning in June, but European officials are now talking about boycotting the games Ukraine is hosting.

Austrian and Belgian officials have said they will not attend the games held in Ukraine. Officials in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and other countries are also considering boycotting the month-long event in protest against Tymoshenko’s alleged mistreatment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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