A Ukrainian court in the city of Kharkiv on Tuesday ruled that the tax evasion trial of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] would be delayed until July 23 due to Tymoshenko's inability to attend for health reasons. Tymoshenko, 51, has denied any wrongdoing in the tax evasion case but has stated she is not well enough to attend trial [Reuters report]. She is currently being treated at a state-run hospital for back problems, reportedly a debilitating spinal condition. Judge Kostyantyn Sadovsky adjourned further hearings in the case until court-appointed doctors could complete an examination of Tymoshenko to determine whether she is fit to attend the proceedings. The court had postponed a hearing [JURIST report] in the tax trial in June, ordering Tymoshenko to be seen by the court-appointed doctor after she again failed to appear in court due to health concerns.
Last month the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] 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. Last month a Ukrainian appeals court delayed the appeal hearing for that conviction and sentence, delaying Tymoshenko's ultimate appeal to the ECHR. Ukrainian prosecutors have also indicated that she will face charges [JURIST report] in a 1996 contract killing.