News / Europe

Ukraine Under Increasing Fire Over Jailed Ex-PM

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.
x
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.
MOSCOW - The government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has given the European Union permission to send specialists to assess the condition of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who says she was beaten by prison guards last month while being transferred to a hospital for treatment of a back condition.  Meanwhile, criticism in connection with Tymoshenko's incarceration is mounting in the West, with some European leaders threatening to boycott the Euro 2012 football championship in Kyiv next month.

Tymoshenko was convicted last year on charges of abusing power while in office -- charges she and her supporters, along with the EU and the United States, say were politically motivated.  

Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison, went on a hunger strike last month after accusing prison staff of beating her while she was being transferred to a hospital.  Ukrainian officials deny the charges.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov alluded to the controversy about Ms. Tymoshenko's treatment in a speech he gave to the European Parliament while visiting Brussels Wednesday.  He accused political opponents of "unscrupulously misinforming and deluding" European officials.

The EU has warned Kyiv it will not sign agreements on political association and a free-trade zone if Ms. Tymoshenko remains in prison.  Earlier this month, Ukraine's government was forced to postpone a Central and Eastern European summit in Yalta after European leaders threatened to boycott it. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he will not attend the Euro 2012 football ((soccer)) championship in Kyiv next month and other European leaders could follow suit.

But some observers question whether such actions will have an impact on President Yanukovych's government.

Taras Kuzio of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, says there is no way the government will free Ms. Tymoshenko or other jailed opponents, such as former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko -- at least before Ukraine's parliamentary elections in October.

"The priority for them is to obtain a parliamentary majority, because they see that as a stepping stone to Yanukovych winning a second term in 2015.  So there will be no softening of the official position on these individuals who are incarcerated for political reasons, because the priority for Viktor Yanukovych is not European integration.  The priority for Viktor Yanukovych is a political and economic monopoly of power."

Olexiy Haran, a political science professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in the Ukrainian capital, says the boycott of the summit in Yalta and the threatened boycott of the Euro 2012 football championship are important symbolically, but that further steps are needed.

"What I believe now is important are targeted sanctions, not against the country, and not even against Yanukovych at this point, but against some people in law enforcement bodies in Ukraine -- at least one or two -- in order to show what would be the result if the present course would continue," Haran said.

Haran says  Yanukovych does not want to be seen in the West as an illegitimate leader and, therefore, what he hears from officials at the NATO summit taking place in Chicago on Sunday and Monday will be "really important."

Speaking to VOA's Ukrainian service after visiting Yulia Tymoshenko in the hospital earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said Washington continues to view her prosecution and the prosecution of other opposition leaders as politically motivated.  He also stressed the importance of conducting free and fair elections for parliament this coming October.  He noted that U.S. President Barack Obama raised these issues with Mr. Yanukovych when they met at a nuclear summit in Seoul earlier this year.   

Meanwhile, Yevgenia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister's daughter, told a U.S. congressional panel in Washington,  the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or U.S. Helsinki Commission, Thursday, via live video link from Kyiv, that she is "very afraid" for her mother’s life in the hospital.  She called on U.S. legislators to "keep the pressure on" Ukraine's government.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid