A Ukrainian appeals court on Tuesday delayed the appeal hearing for former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] challenging her corruption conviction and seven-year sentence. Although Tymoshenko has previously indicated that she would discontinue all appeals in Ukrainian courts [JURIST report], she is required to exhaust all national options before appealing to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. Tymoshenko's lawyers accused [press release, in Ukrainian] the prosecution of attempting to delay the transfer of her case to the ECHR. Her lawyers also said that they believed the hearing delays would continue [press release, in Ukrainian] "because the main goal of all these cases is to remove Yulia Tymoshenko from active participation in Ukrainian politics and deny her the opportunity to be elected to parliament in the 2012 elections." European leaders have called for Tymoshenko's release, and many politicians have chosen to boycott the Ukraine [Reuters report] as it co-hosts the Euro 2012 soccer championships this month.
Tymoshenko is currently facing additional charges of tax evasion. On Monday, a Ukrainian court postponed a hearing [JURIST report] in that trial and ordered Tymoshenko to be seen by a court-appointed doctor after she again failed to appear in court due to health concerns. Tymoshenko is reportedly suffering from a spinal condition which causes her debilitating pain. Earlier this month, the ECHR ended an investigation [JURIST report] into the health care conditions of Tymoshenko, finding that the Ukrainian government provided her with adequate care. She previously alleged that prison guards were beating her [press release, in Ukrainian], and refused to be treated [JURIST report] by prison doctors for back problems, believing they were under the direction of political rival President Viktor Yanukovych. Tymoshenko has already been sentenced to seven years [JURIST report] in prison on corruption charges. Ukrainian prosecutors have also indicated that she will face charges [JURIST report] in a 1996 contract killing.