A judge for the Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv ruled Saturday that a tax evasion hearing for former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] will be postponed until May 21, due to health concerns. Tymoshenko's latest legal battle concerns allegations of tax evasion while she headed the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) in 1996. Proceedings began earlier this month [JURIST report] despite Tymoshenko's absence, but Judge Kostiantyn Sadovsky granted her a two-week extension [Interfax report] Saturday in the hopes that she will appear before the court. Tymoshenko's legal team has suggested that two weeks will be insufficient [press release, in Ukrainian]. In addition to a herniated disc, Tymohenko is on the ninth day of a hunger strike and has alleged that jailers are beating her [press releases, in Ukrainian].
Last week, Tymoshenko was returned to prison after being sent to a clinic for medical treatment. The former prime minister has refused to be treated [JURIST report] by the prison doctors for back problems she has been experiencing, as she believes they are under the direction of political rival President Viktor Yanukovych. She is currently appealing a conviction and seven-year prison sentence [JURIST reports] to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and has discontinued all appeals [JURIST report] in the Ukraine on that issue. Although her previous conviction was on charges of corruption and abuse of power during her time as Prime Minister, Tymoshenko is now accused of hiding $165 million of corporate revenue and accumulating $5.8 million through tax fraud while the head of the UESU.