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PACE president plans to visit Timoshenko in prison.

February 02, 2012, 0:11 UTC+3

PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon will press for a personal meeting with the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko in prison

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STRASBOURG, February 1 (Itar-Tass) —— PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon said he would press for a personal meeting with the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko in prison.

Mignon said on Wednesday, February 1, he would send a request to the Ukrainian authorities. Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko assured Mignon in Strasbourg last week that the prison where Timoshenko is serving her term matches a three-star hotel.

In late January, Mignon expressed concern over reports about Timoshenko’s worsening condition.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called for charges against the former government members in Ukraine, including Timoshenko, be dropped. It asked Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to consider releasing them and allow to compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

In a resolution approved on January 26, based on a report by Mailis Reps (Estonia, ALDE) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden, EPP/CD), the Assembly also expressed its concern about the deteriorating health of Timoshenko, and called on the authorities to allow her treatment by independent doctors.

The parliamentarians said the articles of Ukraine’s criminal code used to bring these cases were “overly broad and effectively allow for post-facto criminalisation of normal political decision-making. This runs counter to the rule of law and is unacceptable.”

These problems stem from “systematic deficiencies” in Ukraine’s justice system, the Assembly said. It spelled out a series of steps to increase the independence of the judiciary, reduce excessive detention on remand, and end the existing bias in favour of the prosecution. It also again called for constitutional reform, and further changes in Ukraine’s election law.

Failing to implement these recommendations within a reasonable timeframe, especially those relating to the criminal prosecution of former government members, would “raise serious questions” about Ukraine’s commitment to the principles of democracy and the rule of law, the Assembly said.

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