Yulia Tymoshenko – 2 years in prison

09:52, 05 August 2013
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Yulia Tymoshenko was arrested on August 5, 2011 during her trial for "systematically interfering in the establishment of the truth, disrupting order...

Today marks two years since former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was jailed as the result of a fabricated case against her for allegedly abusing power while concluding gas agreements with Russia in 2009, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko was arrested on August 5, 2011 during her trial for "systematically interfering in the establishment of the truth, disrupting order in the court, not following the judge’s orders, deliberately delaying the trial, disrespecting the court and witness" who at the time was current Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

In a sign of protest, Yulia Tymoshenko’s supporters staged a protest outside the Pechersk Court in Kyiv that is still going on.

"Today I have every chance of obtaining political asylum in any country and protecting my life, my freedom, being happy with my family. But I’m not going to run from Ukraine. And I have good reason for this. Firstly, I didn’t violate the law. I lived and worked for you. I don’t own any factories, power plants, lands, mineral resources or government estates privatized in my favor. I made sure everything the country has served you, not thieves in politics. I didn’t break the law trying to act justly. And therefore I have no reason to run from my native land. Secondly, I won’t hide anywhere. I worked in politics for the last 10 years and know very well the price politicians and fighters for the people pay. Everything has been bought, sold and resold. You have almost no one to lean on in your times of trouble. So with all the power and life I have I will defend you and Ukraine, and will do so as you allow me. The final and most important reason why the self-preservation instinct and fear in my case doesn’t work is that in all these years of independent, Ukraine has never been in as much trouble as it is now. Ukrainian families have never been worse off. Never before has Ukraine had its soul snatched so cruelly, the future of its children taken away. Today I am still free, but tomorrow I will be behind bars. Knowing what lies ahead of me, I know that I will return to you even stronger," Yulia Tymoshenko said in statement recorded on August 4, 2011, a day prior to her arrest.

The investigation and trial in the case were conducted in gross violation of Ukrainian and international law. Nevertheless, on October 11, 2011, Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Pechersk District Court, following orders from the presidential administration, sentenced Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison with a three-year ban on holding public office and ordered her to pay UAH 1.516 billion in compensation for alleged losses to Naftogaz resulting from the deals concluded in January 2009.

Things didn’t end here. A week after the ruling was delivered, another criminal case was opened against Yulia Tymoshenko, this time involving the activities of United Energy Systems of Ukraine in 1997-1998. Actually, the case was reopened, as it previously been closed by two chambers of the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

On December 8, 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko was re-arrested indefinitely in connection with this case.

Right before New Year’s Day 2012 Yulia Tymoshenko was transferred to the Kachanivska Penal Colony in Kharkiv.

As the international and Ukrainian community were urging the government to release Yulia Tymoshenko, in January 2013 she was indicted on suspicion of involvement in the 1996 murder of MP Yevhen Shcherban. After the public interrogation in court of the prosecution’s dubious witnesses, the Prosecutor General’s Office suspended the case, As of today, the pre-trial investigation is not being conducted.

On April 30, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights recognized the arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko during the gas trial as arbitrary, unlawful and politically motivated. Immediately after the judgment was delivered, the EU, U.S. and international organizations urged the government of Ukraine to immediately release Yulia Tymoshenko. However, the European Court’s ruling still has not been implemented.

On August 1, the High Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases registered Yulia Tymoshenko’s application to the Supreme Court of Ukraine to review and overturn the sentence in the gas case involving on the basis of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of April 30, 2013. Based on the government-initiated new law on the judiciary, the decision whether to send the appeal to the Supreme Court now rests with the High Specialized Court, which has 15 days to issue a decision.

The release of Yulia Tymoshenko and end to selective justice have been important issues in the context of the possible signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. "The Council of the European Union expects the authorities to address the cases of politically motivated convictions without delay as well as to take further steps to reform the judiciary to prevent any recurrence," the Council of the EU stressed in its conclusions on Ukraine adopted in December 2012.

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