News / Europe

Supporters of Former Ukrainian PM Protest Her Arrest

Policemen arrest former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the Pecherskiy District Court in Kyiv, August 5, 2011
Policemen arrest former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the Pecherskiy District Court in Kyiv, August 5, 2011

Supporters of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko have started a sit-in outside the Kyiv courthouse to protest her arrest.

At least 100 supporters, including some members of the Ukraine parliament, pitched 30 tents Saturday and said they would maintain a vigil until authorities released the 50-year-old former leader. Ms. Tymoshenko was arrested in the courthouse on Friday and hauled off in a prison van to a detention center where she spent the night.

Ms. Tymoshenko was arrested on a contempt of court charge after she repeatedly mocked the judge and witnesses at a trial on allegations that she abused her power as prime minister. Prosecutors allege that she signed a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009 that was not advantageous to Ukraine and cost the country $190 million.

She claims the allegations are politically motivated, an attempt by her rival, President Viktor Yanukovych, who defeated her in last year's presidential election, to keep her out of next year's parliamentary elections and the next presidential balloting in 2015.

Several Western countries voiced concern about her arrest, with Germany saying that the investigation of the previous Kyiv government "awakens a suspicion of politically motivated justice."

U.S. Senator John McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election to President Barack Obama, condemned her arrest as a violation of basic rights in a democracy.

His statement on Ms. Tymoshenko's website said that "ultimately, what is at stake is the future of freedom and democracy in Ukraine."

During her trial, Ms. Tymoshenko has refused to stand when addressing the judge and mocked him with comments on the Twitter social networking site. Shortly before her arrest, the current Ukrainian prime minister, Mykola Azarov, testified against her. Ms. Tymoshenko described him as a "fully certified, corrupt old man."

In a chaotic scene, her supporters in the courtroom attempted to block riot police from arresting her and later unsuccessfully sought to block the prison van from driving her to the detention center.

The judge did not say when her trial will resume.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs