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15.12.2011

Tymoshenko Appeal Hearings postponed until after EU-Ukraine Summit

   

The Kyiv Court of Appeal decided on Wednesday to resume examination of the appeal against the former Prime Minister and opposition leader’s conviction over the 2009 gas deal and 7-year prison sentence on 20 December.  It also refused to release Yulia Tymoshenko from custody while her appeal is being heard.  Ms Tymoshenko’s defence lawyers are convinced that the court is dependent on the wishes of those in power.

The court’s decision states that the break is intended to give Yulia Tymoshenko the opportunity to take part herself in the hearings and to obtain medical reports from the SIZO Administration on her state of health.

One of Ms Tymoshenko’s lawyers, Yury Sukhov spoke of a sense of déjà vu. He said that the way the appeal hearings were going had elements of a lack of objectiveness by the Court of Appeal and placed its independence in doubt. He explained that as with the examination of the case in the Pechersky District Court, the Kyiv Court of Appeal was rejecting all applications and was also not interested in considering additional arguments, the results of expert assessments and the testimony of new witnesses. He says the Court will make its decision only on the basis of the material it already has and believes this restricts it in its assessment of all the circumstances which the case is based on.

Serhiy Taran, Director of the International Institute for Democracy, believes that lack of clarity in the Tymoshenko case and the postponement of the appeal until after the summit makes it possible for President Yanukovych to manoeuvre and trade with Brussels and Moscow.  He says that Yanukovych wants to get Europe to cooperate with Kyiv and see Yanukovych as an equal partner, this giving his arrest of Tymoshenko legitimacy and giving him the informal right to continue violating the rights of the opposition.  He is convinced that Tymoshenko’s release is impossible under any circumstances, and believes that this will stay the same under the parliamentary elections are over since “the main aim of the present regime is to remove Tymoshenko and other opposition leaders as his political rivals at the elections”.  He adds that the President simply “does not realize what crisis elements the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Tymoshenko could cause for him in international politics and absolutely fails to understand the internal political consequences of this.”

From a report at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0, , 15603415, 00.html

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