European politicians outraged that Ukrainian authorities refuse meeting with Yulia Tymoshenko
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has not been allowed by the Ukrainian authorities to visit former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in prison as a result of politically motivated charges, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.
"Mrs Tymoshenko asked to see me in accordance with the rules of the prison authorities. We are now informed that this will not be allowed," Bildt posted on Twitter today before leaving to Sweden.
During the discussion "The Tymoshenko Case: Views and Assessments" organized within the framework of the Yalta Annual Meeting, the Swedish foreign minister stressed that the request for permission to meet with Yulia Tymoshenko was made in accordance with Ukrainian law. "We followed all the rules and now they’re telling us that despite the fact that this is all within the law, they’re still not giving us permission for the visit. I heard that maybe it was the penitentiary system, but I think it’s the Ukrainian government. Even though the request was made in accordance with the law, the answer is still no, we can’t organize the meeting," he said.
Bildt is convinced that the charges that resulted in Tymoshenko’s imprisonment are political. "I was also the prime minister of my country [1991-1994], held talks on very important international agreement, and I did this on my own. Of course the law should be equal for everyone. But clearly this won’t be criminal responsibility, it will be a subject of political debates. The only legal consequence of such actions is that if I as prime minister did not have the authority to sign a document then the law simply wouldn’t enter into force. In Sweden this document would have been void. This would also be the case in European countries," underlined Sweden’s top diplomat.
His opinion was shared by European People’s Party (EPP) Vice President Mario David. "Our president, Wilfried Martens, has been here twice since Tymoshenko was imprisoned. We tried to visit her and we were denied. Honestly, I don’t think this is normal," he said.
"We also think it’s not normal that the prosecutor general is trying to explain this case in the EU through a PR firm. I don’t think this is normal and don’t think this happens in any EU country," he explained.
The EPP VP stressed that all these statements shouldn’t be seen as attempts to interfere in the internal situation in Ukraine. "We don’t want to meddle in the domestic affairs of your country, but I think we all want to share European values with Ukraine. And in this trial all European values have been abused. We in the European Union believe this trial was completely politically motivated, that it was a mockery of justice, that the obligations weren’t met and the procedures weren’t followed during the incrimination and trial," David added.
"Let’s imagine that next Monday Ukraine files an application for membership in the European Union…But there are the Copenhagen criteria that are political, and so the response of the European Commission and European Council would be the following: sorry, but you didn’t meet our political criteria. Unfortunately, we don’t see rule of law or an independent judiciary," said the vice president of the EPP.