News / Europe

    Ukraine's Tymoshenko Faces Turbulent Murder Trial

    Former Ukrainian prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during an interview in Kiev, Ukraine (File)
    Former Ukrainian prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during an interview in Kiev, Ukraine (File)
    Stefan Bos
    Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is facing a trial on murder charges.  Proceedings continued Thursday after she was fined for refusing to appear at the Kyiv court while riot police pushed protesters out of the courtroom.  

    The trial resumed after police dressed in full riot gear stormed the courtroom and pushed out deputies of her party.

    The legislators are furious at what they view as a political trial against the opposition leader, who already is serving a seven-year prison term on charges of abuse of power.

    Unmoved by the protests, the judge at Kyiv's Pechera District Court fined Tymoshenko the equivalent of $2,000 for refusing to attend the hearing into the killing of a Ukrainian parliamentarian more than 16 years ago.

    Public prosecutor Ihor Pushkar defended the punishment.

    He said Tymoshenko "released a statement in the afternoon saying she wished to be brought to court.  "But, the prosecutor added, "This was clearly an attempt to delay the trial and manipulate public opinion.”

    Yet her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, told reporters that his client wanted to face the court.

    The lawyer explained that “Yulia Tymoshenko stated both verbally and in written form that she demands to be present at the hearing."  But, he said, authorities "are afraid of Tymoshenko appearing in public.  They are afraid she will discredit their witnesses.”

    Last month, Ukraine's prosecutor-general said Tymoshenko was a suspect in the murder of Yevhen Shcherban at an airport in eastern Ukraine in 1996.

    There is controversy, however, over a key witness asked to testify in the trial.

    Journalists said they were unable to hear his name and that the man acknowledged his information came from other sources.

    This is not the only trial faced by Tymoshenko, who has been treated for serious back pain in a prison hospital.  On Tuesday, separate tax evasion proceedings against her were postponed again after she did not appear in court.

    Tymoshenko claims the charges are politically motivated and an attempt by the president and government to stifle the opposition, a view shared by the European Union, the United States and human rights groups.

    This week, her former acting defense minister, Valery Ivashchenko, was reportedly granted political asylum in Denmark amid concerns he could be jailed again on controversial charges of financial wrongdoing.

    Last year, Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksander Tymoshenko, received political asylum in the Czech Republic.

    The European Union has already warned Ukraine that the imprisonment of Tymoshenko and the perceived lack of reforms threaten deals on more trade and closer political ties.

    Ukraine's leadership has strongly denied wrongdoing in Tymoshenko's case, saying courts are independent.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, canada
    February 14, 2013 7:58 PM
    This is clearly starting to look like a case in which human rights are being violated. The ICC is always wanting to stick its fingers into judiciary proceedings of sovereign nations, this would be a case, although slightly out of their ball park, to start having a look at these proceedings against Ms. Y. Timoshenko. When hearsay is admitted into a capital trial, of this type of magnitude with high international visibility, one can only imagine how bad things may be for unknown people. The ICC wants to be relevant, loking for a job, this type of work needs to be done by some professional international org, given that no reviews are being done in this very strange case....

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.