Ukraine prosecutors urge court not to hear Tymoshenko appeal

[JURIST] Ukrainian prosecutors on Tuesday urged an appeals court not to hear the appeal of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] in her corruption trial. Prosecutors told the court that Tymoshenko's trial had already established her guilt in the case, and asked the judges to let stand a seven-year prison sentence [JURIST report] in the case. Tymoshenko was not present at the hearing due to health concerns. The hearing has been delayed [JURIST report] in the past due to Tymoshenko's absence. 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]. In a statement [text] on her website, Tymoshenko's lawyers expressed doubt about the outcome of the appeal, accusing the prosecutors of making political arguments and using assumptions to support their case. The appeals court is expected to deliver a decision in September. In the meantime, the ECHR is scheduled to consider Tymoshenko's complaint in this case on August 28.

Tymoshenko is currently facing additional charges of tax evasion. This trial has also been postponed on several occassions due to Tymoshenko's ongoing health problems. It was most recently postponed last week [JURIST report] after she declined to participate in the trial via a video link. The court had previously postponed a hearing [JURIST report] in that trial and ordered Tymoshenko to be seen by a court-appointed doctor in June 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 that 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 in prison on corruption charges. Ukrainian prosecutors have also indicated that she will face charges [JURIST report] in a 1996 contract killing.

 

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