French human rights ambassador prevented from seeing Tymoshenko


France’s Human Rights Ambassador Francois Zimeray has been refused permission to meet with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is being held in the Kachanivska Penal Colony in Kharkiv.

Monsieur Zimeray said that he had been told that he couldn’t see the former Prime Minister as she was to be questioned on Wednesday.

He expressed concern that the questioning would be taking place in the absence of Ms Tymoshenko’s defence lawyers, and said that he believed it unlikely that he would be allowed to see her in the near future.

Monsieur Zimeray added that on Thursday he is scheduled to see former Internal Affairs Minister, Yury Lutsenko and former Acting Defence Minister Valery Ivashchenko.

He said that he was also planning to discuss human rights problems in other areas, just as freedom of speech and torture, and stressed that if Ukraine wants to be closer to the EU, it must remember that observance of human rights is first priority. 

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