Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor calls Tymoshenko’s civil disobedience „illegal”
The next scheduled hearing in the trial of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on embezzlement charges is supposed to take place on 18 January. On Tuesday, in a letter to President Yanukovych, Yulia Tymoshenko announced a campaign of civil disobedience, including not attending court hearings and not communicating with the investigators.
She stated that this was “in order to reduce fear in society of your regime, to say yet again that you are degrading and destroying Ukraine”. She asserted that this right was envisaged by Article 55 § 5 of the Constitution. She said that she had been imprisoned now for one year and seven months, and that she and former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko (imprisoned for over 2 years – translator) were political hostages.
Ms Tymoshenko has been in a Kharkiv hospital since May 2012 and all hearings in the new case against her have been rescheduled due to her absence.
The Prosecutor at a briefing on 9 January asserted that Ms Tymoshenko’s action was “caprice and a way of dragging out the trial in the United Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation case.
As reported here, this new prosecution first received major television coverage in October 2011, about two days after Ms Tymosehnko’s conviction and 7 year sentence over the 2009 gas accords. The conviction was condemned by all democratic countries as politically motivated.
In the new prosecution, Ms Tymoshenko is accused of organizing concealment of foreign currency profit of over 155 million USD; illegal compensation with public funding and tax evasion amounting to over 47 million UAH through financial machinations. This more overtly “criminal case” has been met with scepticism by the international community.