German Ombudsperson calls for increased pressure on Ukrainian government
Germany’s Human Rights Ombudsperson Markus Lönung believes that pressure must be placed on the Ukrainian authorities over the politically motivated trials taking place in Ukraine.
Asked about the second trial of Yulia Tymoshenko which began on Thursday, Markus Lönung said: “We should first note that the trials are not only against Ms Tymoshenko, but against many other former members of her government. The general picture is quite clear: all of these are politically motivated trials aimed at punishing members of the former government and removing political opponents from the scene before the parliamentary elections in October this year. For me these trials have no weight since a number of the previous ones have already shown that they’re dishonest court proceedings, and the accused didn’t have any possibility of properly defending themselves. Germany does not recognize these trials. I therefore call on the Government of Ukraine to immediately release all these people”.
Mr Lönung corrected the interviewer and stressed that the German government is not holding talks on Ms Tymoshenko’s possible treatment in Germany, although she is of course welcome.
“I think the most important thing is that Tymoshenko, and also Lutsenko, Filipchuk and Ivashchenko have the proper level of medical care. None of them has so far had this.”
During her visit to Germany Tymoshenko’s daughter called on the German government to introduce sanctions against the Ukrainian government. What do you think of that suggestion?
During my visit to Ukraine I saw that in this country there are many active representatives of civic society who are trying to influence those in power. I can see also that the EU is putting pressure on the Ukrainian government, mainly through the Association Agreement remaining unsigned. I see also that the Ukrainian government is slowly beginning to understand that a number of leading European politicians may boycott the Football Championship in Ukraine since they consider that they cannot sit peacefully in the Kharkiv stadium when Ms Tymoshenko is in prison not far away. I think the Ukrainian government is under pressure from many fronts. I would like that pressure to be still further increased.