Criminal persecution of the opposition leaders in Ukraine disgraces democracy, says European People’s Party President Wilfried Martens, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

“I have always considered the trial against her as a politically motivated act of oppression, not worthy of a European democracy. Our party and myself have repeatedly said that, on the latest occasion in a joint statement with Senator John McCain several weeks ago. All the foreign ministers of the 27 Member States of the European Union confirmed this position in preparation of the European Neighbourhood Summit at the 30th September in Warsaw,” Wilfried Martens said today at a meeting of the Club of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

He believes Ukraine today is risking going backwards in its development as a democracy and open society and recalled that for the first time in many years the Freedom House index of 2010 classified Ukraine as only partially free. “This is a sign of alarm for all of Europe,” stressed the president of the European People’s Party.

“Yulia Tymoshenko is a trusted friend and her party is an important member of our political family. But we are talking here about much more than the trial against one person. We are speaking as well about the trials against other members of the opposition. We are talking about the future of your country as a European democracy, which means more than just the question of an independent judiciary, based on the rule of law,” he said.