News / Europe

Tymoshenko to Get Medical Treatment Outside Kyiv Prison

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to allow jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to receive medical attention outside of the Kyiv prison, where she is currently being held.

At a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Yanukovych said he had spoken with government officials about Ms. Tymoshenko's health and was informed the prison healthcare system is not up to the required standards.

He said she would be treated in medical establishments in Kyiv outside of prison "either today or tomorrow."

Poland's and Sweden's foreign ministers are expected to press for Ms. Tymoshenko's release when they visit Ukraine Wednesday.   Radoslaw Sikorski and Carl Bildt are meeting with tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, who owns a local football club (Shakhtar Donetsk).   Poland and Ukraine will co-host the European Football Championships in 2012.

Several hundred of Ms. Tymoshenko's supporters demonstrated in Kyiv Tuesday.

Concerns about Ms. Tymoshenko's health arose Monday when Ukrainian Human Rights Chief Nina Karpacheva said the former prime minister was suffering from serious medical problems and should receive treatment outside of prison.

Karpacheva said the 50-year-old Ms. Tymoshenko was unable to get out of bed to speak with her, and added that investigators should not interrogate the opposition leader in her prison cell.

Last month, Ms. Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for exceeding her power as prime minister when she signed a 2009 gas deal with Russia that her opponents say was overly beneficial to Moscow.  

Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials filed additional charges against Ms. Tymoshenko, including embezzlement, theft and tax evasion.

Ukraine's State Tax Administration said Friday that she failed to pay nearly $6 million in taxes when she headed a Ukrainian energy company in the 1990s. It also said Ms. Tymoshenko concealed $165 million in corporate revenue.

The former prime minister has repeatedly denied the charges and has described her trial as "a political lynching" aimed at allowing President Yanukovych to rid himself of a political rival.  She had been expected to be the main opposition candidate in a parliamentary election next year, but is not eligible to run if the conviction is upheld.  Her lawyers have said they will appeal the verdict.

The United States, the European Union and several rights groups have condemned the charges against Ms. Tymoshenko as politically motivated.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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