Church leaders call on Yanukovych to pardon Tymoshenko


  The leaders of a number of Ukraine’s Churches have called on President Yanukovych to pardon former Prime Minister and opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko.  Ms Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence which has been widely condemned both within Ukraine and abroad as politically motivated.

The letter, made public on Tuesday by Volodymyr Yavorivsky, MP from the Batkivshchyna – BYUT faction, states that while the Church does not interfere in state affairs, including legal matters, “it does have a duty to urge forgiveness, mercy and love for one’s neighbor. We believe that Yulia Tymoshenko’s pardon and her release from further punishment would be a manifestation of these virtues, " stressed the religious leaders. 
The Church leaders ask the President to change the procedure for pardon, approved by his Decree on 19 September 2010, enabling the relatives of a person accused and others with public authority to intercede on behalf of the person.

The letter is signed by the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) Filaret (Denysenko);  the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Bishop Markiyan Trofymiak of the Roman Catholic Church; the Head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Mefodiy (Kudriakov), and representatives of a number of Evangelical Churches..

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