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Timoshenko’s condition raises concern, CE Secretary-General says

March 12, 2012, 22:19 UTC+3

These problems stem from “systematic deficiencies” in Ukraine’s justice system, the Assembly said

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STRASBOURG, March 12 (Itar-Tass) ——The condition of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko is raising concern, Council of Europe Secretary Thorbjorn Jagland said.

He said the Ukrainian authorities are obligated to provide decent conditions for Timoshenko that would comply with the obligations assumed by the country in the Council of Europe, Jagland said on Monday, March 12.

He recalled that Timoshenko’s complaint about her arrest and imprisonment has been given priority in the European Court of Human Rights.

Last week, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said they would press for a personal meeting with Timoshenko in prison.

PACE rapporteurs, who are coming on an official visit to Ukraine this week, should be able to see Timoshenko, to assess the conditions under which she is detained.

In turn, chairman of the Socialist Group of PACE, a Swiss MP Andreas Gross called “to release her on humanitarian grounds”.”Obviously, lately her condition has deteriorated,” he said. “Timoshenko needs to be treated humanely and needs to receive hospital treatment.”

On January 26, PACE adopted a resolution which recommends that Ukraine withdraw the charges of abuse of power and abuse of power from former senior officials and ensure their participation in the elections to the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament

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.

The Assembly noted the willingness to apply sanctions to Ukraine, if not complied with the recommendations of the Assembly relating to the prosecutions of former top officials.

On March 5, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation arrived in the Kachanivska colony in Kharkov, but it was not allowed to see Timoshenko.

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