Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike after alleged beating
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko asserts that she was kicked in the stomach when being taken to a Ukrainian hospital by force last week. Ms Tymoshenko refused treatment, saying that she believed she could be poisoned or infected, and demanding to see the team of German doctors who previously examined her. She writes that she has been on hunger strike since 20 April.
Her statement is given here in full (taken from her official site)
Yulia Tymoshenko: I started to defend myself as I could and got a strong blow in my stomach through the bed-sheet
On Friday, 20 April, 2012, after the end of the working day, conclusions of the German doctors, Professor Karl Maks Einhäupl and Norbert Haas, were conveyed to me. In the concluisons, it was said that I would be unable to restore my health in the hospital proposed by Ukraine’s government.
The reason is not in doctors - I trust Ukrainian doctors and respect them deeply because I know about the difficult conditions they work in – and not in the equipment of the hospital, as it in line with standards. The reason is the general situation of every-minute violence and cruel treatment organized for me by the current president of Ukraine.
After having received conclusions of the German doctors I informed the colony’s head in writing, and supervising prosecutor and deputy minister of health verbally that, taking into account the contents of the conclusions, I was unable to go to the hospital until I meet with my defense counsel. We agreed that the transfer to hospital would take place on Monday after I talk to Serhiy Vlasenko.
But around 21:00, my neighbour was made to go out of the prison cell, and later three sturdy men came into the cell. They approached my bed, threw a bed-sheet over me and began to drag me off the bed three together applying brutal force. In pain and despair I started to defend myself as I could and got a strong blow in my stomach through the bed-sheet, they wrung my arms and legs, lifted me and dragged in the bed-sheet into the street. I thought these were the last minutes of my life. In unbearable pain and fear I started to cry and call out for help, but no help came. At some moment I fell unconscious because of awful pain and came back to consciousness in a hospital ward. Being extremely stressed, I refused to talk to anyone until I see my defense counsels. The next day I refused to take food. But there was no meeting with my defense counsels. I think about the helplessness and hopelessness every person feel today when they confront with the government’s violence in all its manifestations. When they started to apply brutal force to me I imagined the despair of the defenseless people being cruelly, brutally beaten and sometimes even killed by policemen at numerous prisons, pre-trail detention centers, militia stations, colonies, in basements of the modern SBU-NKVS. When you are within four closed walls, fully-isolated from the world, when butchers with distorted from fury faces "take care" of you, when you do not know if this is the end of your life, only then you realize clearly what country we have built over 20 years of our independence, and you understand that we do not have the right to leave it to our children in this inhuman condition.
I stopped taking food on 20 April with one aim – to draw attention of the democratic world to things happening in the centre of Europe, in the country named Ukraine. The question is not the destiny of modern political prisoners: we are ready to go our way, whatever it may be, decisively and with dignity. The problem is different – the problem is to understand immediately that the president of Ukraine is steadily and pedantically building a concentration camp of violence and lack of rights in the great and European Ukraine, supplemented by an unprecedented enrichment of the ruling family and its entourage by means of misappropriating state resources. We must realize without delay the tragic state of affairs and stop this immediately using all Ukrainian and international means and influence. If we lose time we will get a new Libya or Syria in the centre of Europe, and then it will be late to extinguish the fire.
I beg the democratic world and all healthy forces within Ukraine to start acting immediately and with joint efforts to eliminate this all-European threat. I say eliminate because conservative treatment is already impossible in this case.
I propose the following plan consisting of two points: first, to commence public international investigations into all corruption dealings of the Yanukovych family and its entourage involving international transaction and registering of illegally obtained assets on the territory of foreign states.
I publicly ask all honest journalists, leaders of civil movements, officials, representatives of law-enforcement agencies and other people who are not indifferent to convey me materials of journalist and other investigations that clearly prove international character of the crimes committed by Ukrainian authorities. I publicly appeal to official governments of the countries in jurisdiction of which our rulers have committed their corruption crimes with a request to conduct unbiased independent investigations into these crimes and to prosecute the guilty people. We must begin the Great Cleaning of the country now.
Second, we must do everything possible to remove the Yanukovych regime with all its metastasises in the parliamentary elections, without any revolutions and in peaceful manner. In the nearest time, I will publish an appeal to all citizens of Ukraine explaining how we could do this. If in the parliamentary elections the people of Ukraine are prevented from removing the government it means that we will have to start a new peaceful revolution. The one thing we must not do is to be a silent herd taken to the slaughter. I will oppose this till I am alive. And I know that you will not let them humiliate Ukraine like this…
Your Yulia Tymoshenko