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Doctors Call for Tymoshenko to be Treated Abroad

Karl Einhaeupl, the head of Berlin's Charite university hospital speaks  in Berlin about the health of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, April 27, 2012.
Karl Einhaeupl, the head of Berlin's Charite university hospital speaks in Berlin about the health of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, April 27, 2012.

German doctors who have examined jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko have appealed to the president to let her be moved abroad for treatment.

Karl Einhaeupl, head of Berlin's Charite university hospital, told reporters Friday that his team is skeptical that  Tymoshenko can recover from her back problems if she remains in Ukraine.

"One of the reasons for this press conference is that the Ukrainian government approached us through their Foreign Minister with the demand to treat Yulia Tymoshenko in the Ukraine," he said. "We believe that the hunger strike and the escalation of the situation have worsened the situation of Yulia Tymoshenko. Therefore we think that another judgement about Tymoshenko's current condition from our side is necessary."

The Ukrainian leadership recently proposed Germany sending doctors to treat Ms. Tymoshenko in Ukraine, but Einhaeupl said Ukrainian hospitals have neither the equipment nor the expertise to handle her case.

Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike since last week, when she alleges she was beaten by prison guards.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said Thursday he has ordered a probe into the allegations.  Earlier this week, Ukraine's commissioner for human rights said a personal examination confirmed that Ms. Tymoshenko has bruises on her body.

German President Joachim Gauck has canceled his planned attendance at a meeting in the Ukrainian Black Sea resort of Yalta next month to protest Tymoshenko's situation. And EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has announced she is "deeply preoccupied" with  Tymoshenko's health.

The former prime minister has complained of severe back pain and asked for medical treatment monitored by foreign doctors.  

Last year, she was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of abuse of office in a 2009 gas deal with Russia.  She is now standing trial on tax evasion charges that could extend her jail time to 12 years.

Tymoshenko denies the charges and argues they are part of a campaign by President Yanukovich to remove his strongest political rival.

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