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Ukraine ex-PM trial delayed again due to health

A tax evasion hearing for former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] was delayed Monday again [JURIST report] due to Tymoshenko's health. Tymoshenko's lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, requested [press release] the trial be postponed before court and reported that the court ignored his motion: "This was the latest farce in court. Everyone saw that the judge refused to consider the motion by the defense despite the fact that he considered the prosecution's motion several times." Nonetheless, the hearing was postponed due to Tymoshenko's absence. Tymoshenko is reportedly under the care of German and Ukrainian doctors for back pain. Recently, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice [press releases] have joined the US Senate [JURIST report] in calling for Tymoshenko's release. The hearing is set to resume on November 13.

Yulia Tymoshenkop has already been convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] to seven years in prison under charges of abuse of power and corruption. Her current trial is on charges of tax evasion, and she is awaiting trial on a charge of murder [JURIST reports]. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held a hearing [JURIST report] in August on Tymoshenko's appeal to the abuse of power conviction. Tymoshenko alleges that all charges against her are politically motivated. Many in the West have agreed with her and support her efforts to overturn her conviction. JURIST guest columnist Myroslaw Smorodsky [official profile] of the Board of Governors of the Ukrainian American Bar Association [official website] called her conviction [JURIST comment] a "very tragic step backwards and a serious setback in the democratic evolution of the Ukrainian nation."

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