Ukraine prosecutors reopen criminal probe of ex-PM Tymoshenko

[JURIST] Ukrainian prosecutors said Wednesday that they have reopened a criminal investigation [press release, in Ukrainian] of opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. The probe into accusations that Tymoshenko attempted to bribe Supreme Court judges was originally opened in May 2004 and then suspended [JURIST report] in June 2005. Tymoshenko, who recently lost a hotly contested election to President Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian], claims that the investigation is politically motivated. Speaking to reporters, she said [press release], "[i]n every room of the Prosecutor General's Offices they're saying that Yanukovych personally instructed the leadership of the Prosecutor General's Office to find any reason to put me in jail in the next three to four months." Tymoshenko said that she has been summoned to speak with investigators [RFE/RL report] on May 17.

In February, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST reports] filed in the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine claiming that the country's presidential election was corrupt. Tymoshenko dropped the suit claiming she would not receive a fair hearing in the court. She had alleged that widespread voter fraud allowed Yanukovych to win the election. Tymoshenko has a history of being at the center of controversial political moments in Ukraine. In March 2009, she called for constitutional changes [JURIST report] to provide more separation between parliamentary and presidential powers. In October 2008, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST report] she had brought against then-president Victor Yushchenko [JURIST news archive] after he suspended a plan to hold early elections following the collapse of the country's coalition government. Before suspending the plan, Yushchenko had issued a decree abolishing a Kiev court after it tried to block [JURIST reports] his order dissolving parliament.

 

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