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20.08.2011

EU Representative seeks permission to visit Yulia Tymoshenko

   

Yulia Tymoshenko inside the court hearing room with her husband, Oleksandr, in Kyiv on August 11.

Lawyers and aides for Yulia Tymoshenko have repeated requests that the jailed former Ukrainian prime minister be examined by her personal physician over what they said were "mysterious symptoms" she has developed since being taken into custody two weeks ago.

Tymoshenko’s trial on abuse-of-power charges was postponed until August 22 after she complained in court on August 18 of health problems and requested an independent medical examination, including blood tests.

RFE/RL correspondents say Tymoshenko appeared tired in court and went pale shortly before she asked for a recess.

Defense lawyer Yuriy Sukhov told journalists the original request for an independent examination was made on August 16 after she developed what aides described as unexplained bruises and other symptoms.

"Yulia Volodymyrivna [Tymoshenko], who is being held illegally, has developed intensifying external and internal symptoms indicative of a worsening state of health." fellow defense lawyer Mykola Siryi said in court. "You can see the symptoms with your eyes. The matter of access to her physician must be settled immediately."

Oleksandr Turchynov, deputy chairman of Tymoshenko’s opposition Fatherland party, published on his Twitter account: "Tymoshenko’s life is in danger. Bruises from broken blood vessels have appeared all over her body. There is no decision on our motion for a blood test."

In court on August 18, Judge Rodion Kireyev said the question of medical care must be decided by the administration of the detention center where she is being held. Defense lawyers responded by saying the jail administration refused to make a determination without an order from the court. Kireyev criticized the defense for wasting the court’s time.

"The court has established the procedure for settling motions, ’ the judge said. "Now, again, the defense is turning this trial into a list of its declarations. What is more, these declarations don’t contain any motions or anything of substance. In a court hearing, the judge can only call for an ambulance in the event of someone becoming ill."

The prosecutor asked the court to send "Health Ministry specialists" to examine Tymoshenko.

The court also rejected a repeated defense motion that Tymoshenko be released on bond.

The European Union has expressed concern about the reports. EU foreign relations spokesman Michael Mann told reporters in Brussels that the organization is urging Kyiv to provide adequate and independent medical assistance to Tymoshenko.

"We are concerned also by the reports that [Tymoshenko’s] health has deteriorated, " Mann said, "and we urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure a timely and independent medical examination and professional medical care as appropriate. And such a response would also allow the situation to be clarified, which would also be in the interest of the court."

Mann also said the EU has sought permission from the Ukrainian authorities to visit Tymoshenko in jail since she was taken into custory on August 5 and is repeating that request in the light of the recent reports.

Tymoshenko’s health complaints come one day after former President Victor Yushchenko, her former political ally in the days of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, testified against her.

Tymoshenko is charged over a 2009 deal she signed with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that raised the price Ukraine paid for its gas.

She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted on charges she says are politically motivated.

based on RFE/RL Ukrainian Service and agency reports

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