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STRASBOURG, December 20 (Itar-Tass) — The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sent an official request to Kiev to clarify all the circumstances of the arrest of ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Timoshenko and her keeping in custody. The corresponding document, containing six questions to the prosecution side and defence lawyers, was posted on Tuesday on the official website of the Strasbourg court.
In particular, the ECHR panel of judges requested information if the Ukrainian opposition leader has got adequate medical care after her arrest. In addition, the ECHR decided to give priority to Timoshenko’s complaint regarding its admissibility. Given the ECHR heavy workload, in normal circumstances this process could take several years. Now, the final decision on accepting the case for review will be made in 3-4 months.
According to the ECHR press release, the European Court of Human Rights decided on 14 December 2011 to fast track an application from the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko concerning her detention in Kiev. The Court took the decision to give priority to the case, Timoshenko v. Ukraine (application no. 49872/11), in view of the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations raised.
Ms Timoshenko, born in 1960, is the leader of Batkivshchina, the main opposition party in Ukraine, and of Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2005 and from December 2007 to March 2010. Criminal proceedings were brought against her for allegedly making an illegal order for the signing of a contract concerning gas imports. She was convicted as charged on 11 October 2011 and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and a three-year ban on holding public office. She has appealed. Her application was lodged with the European Court on 10 August 2011. She alleges, in particular: that her criminal prosecution and detention were politically motivated; that there has been no judicial review of the lawfulness of her detention in Kiev SIZO no. 13; and, that her detention conditions are inadequate, with no medical care provided for her numerous health problems. She relies principally on: Article 3 (prohibition of degrading treatment or punishment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the release says.
Notice of the application has been given to the Ukrainian Government, which is requested to submit observations.
Over the past few months in custody, the health condition of Timoshenko, as she and her supporters say, has sharply deteriorated.
The Kiev Court of Appeal currently holds preliminary hearings on the appeal filed by the ex-prime minister and leader of the opposition Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party.
Timoshenko was a candidate in the Ukrainian presidential elections of 2010, but lost this election to Viktor Yanukovich (Timoshenko received 45.47 percent of the votes in the second and final round of this election). At first Timoshenko challenged the election results, claiming the vote was rigged, but withdrew her appeal on 20 February 2010, stating, “It became clear that the court is not out to establish the truth.” Since May 2010 a number of criminal cases have been opened against Timoshenko. Her conviction is seen as “justice being applied selectively under political motivation” by the European Union and other international organisations. Timoshenko appealed against the sentence on 24 October 2011. On her 51st birthday an action called “Flowers for Yulia” happened in front of the Lukyanovskaya Prison.