Friday, January 06, 2012

Ukraine: Protest Outside Tymoshenko Prison

Protest action of supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko at the gate penal colony in Kharkiv on January 5

Protest Outside Tymoshenko Prison

RFE/RL Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

upporters of Yulia Tymoshenko have defied authorities by holding a protest outside the prison where the former Ukranian prime minister is being held.

Tymoshenko was moved to the prison camp in the eastern city of Kharkiv on December 30.

She is serving a seven-year sentence for exceeding her authority by signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009. Her supporters accuse President Viktor Yanukovych of using the case to silence a leading figure of Ukraine's opposition.

"Yulia, we are with you!" supporters chanted, while holding signs reading "Freedom to Yulia" and "Yulia, our daughter, all Ukrainian people bow to you".

Tymoshenko's lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said her health has deteriorated, despite government claims Tymoshenko is fine.

"Despite their bravado statements, she can not walk without help, I stress this. That's why it is extremely difficult for me to understand what they meant by 'satisfactory health condition'. I understand, that they all want her not be able to get up at all, not be able to talk and breathe. Then Tymoshenko's health condition would be 'perfectly satisfactory, ' Vlasenko told reporters outside the jail in Kharkiv.

"I think that the main aim of the health ministry's doctor's panel's statements is to misinform society and the international community on Tymoshenko's health conditions."

A few days earlier, Vlasenko had said Tymoshenko was being held in "inhuman conditions" in a permanently-lit prison cell under 24-hour camera surveillance, in an attempt for prison officials to "psychologically and physically break" her.

compiled from agency reports