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Ukraine court postpones Tymoshenko tax evasion trial

A Ukrainian Court on Tuesday postponed the tax evasion trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] after she declined to participate in the trial via a video link. A lawyer for Tymoshenko said [press release] that the court had again requested the video link option despite the fact that she had previously rejected the proposal five times. Tymoshenko is being treated at a state-run hospital for back problems and has alleged that her health condition has not improved sufficiently to allow her to attend the hearings. Her lawyer noted that Ukrainian law requires the court to postpone hearings if the defendant cannot attend due to health concerns. The trial has been postponed until September 11 [press release]. The tax evasion trial began [JURIST report] in April, but has been postponed several times since then.

Tymoshenko is reportedly suffering from a spinal condition which causes her debilitating pain. Earlier this month, a Ukrainian appeals court postponed [JURIST report] the appeal hearing challenging Tymoshenko's corruption conviction and seven-year sentence. This marked the third postponement in that case. The appeal was last postponed in June [JURIST report]. The new date was set to August 16 following the request of the prosecution. In May, 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 in prison on corruption charges. Ukrainian prosecutors have also indicated that she will face charges [JURIST reports] in a 1996 contract killing.

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