06.08.2012 | Halya Coynash

Yulia Tymoshenko: One year in captivity


On 5 August members of the United Opposition were prevented from visiting Ms Tymoshenko. They passed here 365 roses.  Protests were held in Kyiv and Kharkiv.  In Kyiv a 20-metre banner was stretched over the Dnipro River.  The banner above was held up during a Euro 2012 Championship in Ukraine

On 5 August 2011 Judge Kireyev ordered the arrest of former Prime Minister, close rival in the presidential race to Viktor Yanukovych and main opposition leader.  The reason was as questionable as so much else in the case - basically her open contempt for the charges she was facing and the running of the court trial against her. 

Both the prosecution and her arrest were immediately condemned by the world community. 

Criticism was renewed when it transpired that President Yanukovych’s assurances to European leaders that the situation would be resolved had been empty and Ms Tymoshenko was sentenced by the same Rodion Kireyev to 7 years imprisonment for a political decision regarding the gas accords with Russia in early 2009. 

Criticism has continued to the present over the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, Yury Lutsenko, Valery Ivashchenko and others. 

Ukraine’s leaders have proved oblivious to the damage they have done Ukraine’s reputation, its chances of European integration, as well as fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law.

Protest in Ukraine was often suppressed, frequently with the deployment of Berkut riot police.  On the other hand, the fact that it could be suppressed reflects the disturbing passiveness of the vast majority of the population, including many otherwise involved in civic action.

Over the last two years Ukraine has become a country with political prisoners and a justice system which in full view of the entire world metes out politically motivated sentences.

Without protest those in power will continue to believe that they can act with impunity. 

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