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Ukraine ex-PM ordered to see court-appointed doctor

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] was ordered to be seen by a court-appointed doctor on Monday after she failed to appear at her tax evasion trial. Tymoshenko is reportedly suffering from a spinal condition which causes her debilitating pain. The court-appointed doctor will determine whether Tymoshenko is fit to stand trial [AP report]. One of Tymoshenko's current doctors told reporters that he does not believe she is capable of facing trial in her current condition. Tymoshenko's health has caused considerable delay in the trial so far. Proceedings began in April despite Tymoshenko's absence, but Judge Kostiantyn Sadovsky later granted her a two-week extension [JURIST reports] in the hopes that she will appear before the court. Last month her trial was postponed for the second time at the request of the prosecution after she was again unable to attend due to health issues. After ordering the medical examination, Judge Sadovsky again postponed the trial [press release] until July 10.

Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ended its 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 the 1996 shooting of lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban and his family. She is currently appealing her conviction and seven-year prison sentence 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, her current trial is based on allegations of hiding $165 million of corporate revenue and accumulating $5.8 million through tax fraud while the head of the UESU.

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