KIEV, Ukraine -- The United States said on Friday the jailing by Ukraine of an ally of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was a miscarriage of justice and called for the release of Valery Ivashchenko on health grounds.
A Ukrainian court this week found Ivashchenko, who served as acting defence minister in opposition leader Tymoshenko's cabinet in 2009 and 2010, guilty of abusing his powers in privatising a Black Sea ship repair facility.
"With respect to the conviction of former Acting Defense Minister Ivashchenko, we are deeply disappointed in this latest example of selective justice in Ukraine and call for his release, particularly given the state of his health after 18 months in pre-trial detention," the U.S. embassy in Ukraine said in a statement.
Tymoshenko, the fiercest opponent of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, has described her conviction for abuse of office, for which she has been sentenced to seven years in prison, as part of the government's campaign to destroy the opposition.
The United States and the European Union saw it as an example of selective justice and have urged her release.
Ivashchenko has dismissed the charges against him as politically motivated and plans to appeal.