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EU observers refuse to comment after Tymoshenko visit

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.02.2013 12:15
Former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski has been criticised after he refused to comment on his three-hour meeting with the imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Yulia Tymoshenko: photo - EPP

Kwasniewski, alongside former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox, are part of an observer mission to Ukraine, overseeing trials and imprisonment of the one-time prime minister, who was sentenced in October 2011 to seven years behind bars for “abuse of powers” when concluding an energy deal with Russia which allegedly cost the Ukrainian state millions of dollars.

New charges have been brought against Tymoshenko for alleged involvement in the 1996 murder of a Ukrainian MP.

Cox and Kwasniewski met with Tymoshenko on Tuesday at the Central Clinical Hospital No. 5 in Kharkiv, where she is being treated for a chronic back problem, but refused to talk to journalists afterwards.

As the European Parliament meets on Wednesday to review and extend the observer mission, German Green MEP Rebecca Harms said that before a decision is taken on the issue, Cox and Kwasniewski should report on their findings.

“I think that before the extension of the mandate, a report on its activities should be published. This issue is only being discussed behind closed doors, and nothing in Ukraine has changed,” the MEP told the Interfax-Ukraine agency.

Cox and Kwasniewski started monitoring further court proceedings involving Tymoshenko, and her imprisonment, on 11 June last year and their mandate was subsequently expanded to include trials involving former Interior Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko and former Acting Defence Minister of Ukraine Valeriy Ivaschenko.

On February 4, Cox and Kwasniewski visited the Mena Penal Colony in Chernihiv to meet with Lutsenko, who was imprisoned in February last year after being found guilty of fraud while in office.

The EU has expressed concern that the jail sentences are political in nature. (pg)

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