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Tymoshenko sentenced to seven years jail

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 11.10.2011 11:23
  • Tymoshenko sentenced to seven years jail - 11.10.2011
Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been sentenced to seven years in jail for “exceeding her powers by ordering state energy firm Naftogaz to sign a gas deal with Russia,” a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Tymoshenko is court, Tuesday morning: photo - EPA/Aleksandr Prokopenko

Judge Rodion Kireyev said that Orange Revolution hero Tymoshenko's actions led to a loss for Naftogaz of 1.5 billion hryvnia (188 million USD).

"In January 2009, Tymoshenko, exercising the duties of prime minister [...] used her powers for criminal ends and, acting deliberately, carried out actions ... which led to heavy consequences," he said.

Tymoshenko earlier said in a statement to supporters: "Whatever sentence is pronounced, my struggle will continue. This sentence, written by Yanukovych, won't change anything in my life or in my struggle."

Poland's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement saying that the trial and sentencing of Tymoshenko shows the “politicization of justice” in Ukraine.

The statement on the ministry's web site says that the ruling has “seriously damaged the image of Ukraine”.

On Kiev's EU aspirations, the Foreign Ministry says that the ex-Soviet nation must “consolidate and apply relevant norms and standards [in keeping] with the social and political order of the European Union.”

The European Union, one of Ukraine's main trading partners and for which it has increasing aspirations for closer cooperation, has warned President Viktor Yanukovich, who beat Tymoshenko for the presidency in February 2010, that landmark economic agreements “will be in jeopardy” if she is jailed.

A statement from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the trial confirmed that justice was being applied selectively in Ukraine in politically motivated prosecutions of opposition leaders and members of the former government.

"The EU will reflect on its policies towards Ukraine," she said in a statement on behalf of the European Union.

"The way the Ukrainian authorities will generally respect universal values and rule of law, and specifically how they will handle these cases, risks having profound implications for the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship, including for the conclusion of the Association Agreement, our political dialogue and our cooperation more broadly."

"If it becomes evident that this process has more to do with politics than with justice, we won't be able to start agreeing the [Ukrainian trade and other deals] agenda right away," German's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle told the German Press Agency (DPA) at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxenbourg on the Ukrainian issue on Monday.

The foreign ministers issued a statement concluding that Ukraine's EU aspirations depended on its “democratic progress”.

In late August, Poland's President Komorowski told public broadcaster TVP that the trial was an "obstacle" to Ukraine joining the European Union.

“Undoubtedly, the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko is an obstacle [which] spoils the image of Ukraine abroad and may constitute a major problem to the advancement of Ukraine to the Western world," he said. (pg/nh)

source: PAP/Reuters/AFP

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