Canada, France and Italy also express concern over Tymoshenko verdict
Canada Troubled by Conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko
(No. 296 - October 11, 2011 - 6:15 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement in response to the conviction in Ukraine of Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime minister and currently an opposition leader, on charges of abuse of power:
“Canada is troubled by the manner in which the arrest, prosecution and conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko were carried out by Ukrainian authorities. The apparent political bias and arbitrary prosecution in this and other cases hamper Ukraine’s democratic development. A legitimate and active opposition is a vital part of a vibrant and effective democracy.
“There are clear signs that the court proceedings fall far short of internationally recognized norms of fairness, transparency and due process.
“In my recent letter to President Viktor Yanukovych, I urged the Ukrainian government to strengthen judicial independence and capacity. These are necessary to the peaceful, democratic and prosperous society that Ukraine is striving to become, and Canada will continue to support their efforts in this direction.”
“Today’s developments may have serious consequences for our bilateral relationship.”
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has expressed his disappointment by the conviction of former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko.
Italian foreign minister says Tymoshenko verdict unacceptable
Rome – Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has expressed his disappointment by the conviction of former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko.
"Seven years in prison is an unacceptable sentence, " he told Italian reporters.
The minister noted that it would difficult for Italy to develop relations with Ukraine due to this situation.
"We could hold technical talks on some issues. But it will be difficult to work on the rapprochement of Italy and Ukraine in the political sphere until Kyiv completely revises this problem [the situation with Tymoshenko] related to the observance of the fundamental human rights and norms of a constitutional state, " he said.
It was reported earlier that the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv found Ukraines ex-prime minister and leader of the Batkivschyna party Yulia Tymoshenko guilty of exceeding her authority while signing gas contracts with Russia and sentenced her to seven years in prison.
French Foreign Ministry expresses concern over Tymoshenko arrest
The French Foreign Ministry summoned Ukrainian Ambassador to France Olexander Kupchyshyn and expressed concern over the detention of Ukraines former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the course of the trial against her, the ministry said on Thursday.
The ambassador was told of "the serious concern generated by the detention of Mrs. Yulia Tymoshenko and more generally of the progress of (her) trial."
Ukraine has been seeking a revision in the 2009 gas deal with Russia since last spring, saying that the contracts gas price formula is unfair. Russia has tied the price for gas to the international spot price for oil, which has been rising strongly until recently due to the instability in the Middle East.
The contract was signed by Tymoshenko who is currently on trial on charges of abuse of office for concluding the deal on terms disadvantageous to Kiev.