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Over 50 supporters of Timoshenko gather near her penitentiary

December 30, 2011, 20:47 UTC+3

The Kiev Appeals Court upheld the ruling of the Kiev Pechersky Court on Friday

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KIEV, December 30 (Itar-Tass) —— The Batkivshchyna Party of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko has confirmed her transfer to the 54th penitentiary in Kharkov.

“The convoy accompanying Yulia Timoshenko has entered the premises of the penitentiary,” head of the party’s Kharkov organization Valery Dudko said. “About 50 supporters of the ex-premier are staying near the penitentiary and more will come here soon,” he added.

Penitentiary warden Ivan Pervushkin said that Timoshenko would share a 37-square-meter cell with another woman, who was transferred to the penitentiary a short time ago.

The penitentiary has workshops making clothes, polypropylene bags and wooden and concrete items. Its reconstruction began in 2006 to meet the European standards. Now the penitentiary has a club for 420 inmates, outdoor and indoor gyms, a school and a vocational training center.

Timoshenko’s lawyer Sergei Vlasenko said earlier that 900 women are serving their time at the penitentiary. There are 14 inmates in the penitentiary’s block for serving lifetime sentences.

The seven-year sentence on ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko entered into force, Prosecutor Lilia Frolova told reporters last Friday.

She said the ex-premier’s defense had three months to challenge the sentence.

The Kiev Appeals Court upheld the ruling of the Kiev Pechersky Court on Friday. The court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11 to seven years in prison for exceeding her authority in the signing of the gas contracts with Russia in 2009. She was also compelled to pay 1.51 billion hryvni (almost $200 million) to Neftegaz Ukrainy.

A new case against Timoshenko was initiated on October 12. Detectives said that Timoshenko, while being the president of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko wrote off the corporation’s debt to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry sent a letter to Ukraine demanding the payment of the debt. Timoshenko chaired the corporation in 1995-1997. She said in June 2011 that there were no debts to the Russian Defense Ministry.

On November 11 the Ukrainian State Tax Service charged ex-CEO of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation Timoshenko with concealing $165 million revenues, embezzling public funds and dodging over 47 million hryvni (about $6 million) in taxes.

The Timoshenko case caused harsh comments from Europe.

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking on behalf of the Commission, said: “The verdict comes after a trial which did not respect the international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process which I repeatedly called for in my previous statements. This unfortunately confirms that justice is being applied selectively in politically motivated prosecutions of the leaders of the opposition and members of the former government.”

The European Parliament deplored the conviction of Timoshenko as a violation of human rights and an abuse of the judiciary designed to silence Ukraine’s leading opposition politician.

Neither Timoshenko nor her defense attended a hearing of the Kiev Appeals Court on December 23. A small number of Timoshenko supporters gathered near the court before the hearing began.

Timoshenko’s lawyer posted a letter of Timoshenko last Thursday to say that she would stop challenging Ukrainian court rulings in the home country.

“Ukraine has absolutely no judiciary system or justice,” Timoshenko said.

The lawyers said they would seek justice at the European Court of Human Rights.

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