Saturday, 26 November 2011

Ukraine's Tymoshenko Back In Prison After Medical Check-Up

KIEV, Ukraine -- ailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been returned to her prison cell after a medical tests at a hospital in Kiev indicated she was not suffering from any life-threatening medical condition, media reports quoting Tymoshenko's lawyer and prison officials said Wednesday.
Ukraine's prison service confirmed in a statement that Tymoshenko had undergone medical checks at a hospital in the capital city, stating: "As a result of Tymoshenko's checks, no life-threatening pathological changes were found."

Tymoshenko was reportedly brought back to prison from the hospital by about 10 am on Wednesday, just hours after she was taken for the medical check-up.

Her lawyer Sergei Vlasenko expressed doubts about the medical checkup, saying: "We don't know what they did to her or what the results are."

The developments come a day after President Viktor Yanukovych authorized Tymoshenko's release from prison temporarily to get medical treatment for serious health problems, including severe back pain.

"I was informed that the system [of medical treatment in jail]... is not up to the required standards. So this treatment or medical services will have to be provided in medical institutions in Kiev, in the coming days, either today or tomorrow," Yanukovych told a news conference on Tuesday.

Last month, a court in Kiev had found Tymoshenko guilty of exceeding her powers in signing the 2009 gas contracts with Russia and sentenced her to seven years in prison.

She was also ordered to pay a compensation of 1.5 billion hryvnya ($187 million) lost by the state-run Naftogaz as a result of the deal.

The 50-year-old opposition leader insists that her trial was a politically-motivated ploy of her arch rival President Yanukovych to disqualify her from contesting the October 2012 parliamentary and the 2015 presidential elections.

Tymoshenko, leader of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association party, said after the court ruling that she would challenge the verdict in the European Court of Human Rights.
However, she has since been charged with new offenses dating back to the 1990s, including tax evasion, theft and concealing foreign currency revenues.

Tymoshenko, who was Ukraine's first female Prime Minister, and former President Viktor Yushchenko are considered to be the leading lights of the the 2004 'Orange Revolution' that ousted President Yanukovych from power by getting his fraud-tainted election victory canceled.

Yushchenko has since faded into political oblivion.

Nonetheless, the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych got re-elected as President in the February 2010 election, defeating Tymoshenko by just 3.5 percentage points.

Tymoshenko lost her premiership in March 2010 after losing a vote of confidence and is now Ukraine's Opposition leader.

Many of Tymoshenko's former Cabinet colleagues and political allies are currently in prison on various charges ranging from corruption to power abuse, prompting concerns about the country's political future.

The United States has condemned the case against Tymoshenko and some of her allies as "selective prosecution of political opponents."

The case against Tymoshenko had threatened to derail Ukraine's European Union membership ambitions.

Ahead of her sentencing, the EU had warned President Yanukovych that the former Soviet Republic risks losing a possible EU entry if Tymoshenko was convicted in the case.

Ukraine's EU accession now seems doubtful.

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