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European Court of Human Rights starts hearing Timoshenko case

August 28, 2012, 20:21 UTC+3

The ex-premier complains of illegal arrest and custody conditions

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STRASBOURG, August 28 (Itar-Tass) — The European Court of Human Rights has started hearing the case of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister, opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko.

Lawyers Sergei Vlasenko and Valentina Telichenko and Timoshenko’s daughter Yevgenia represent Timoshenko at the hearing.

“Here we seek justice, which Ukrainian courts lack,” Yevgenia Timoshenko said before the court started its hearing. “They [Ukrainian courts] are under full control of the Yanukovich regime, which is trying to destroy my mother.”

The ex-premier complains of illegal arrest and custody conditions.

“The Ukrainian authorities are doing their best to isolate Timoshenko from the political life and the parliamentary election of this October,” lawyer Telichenko said. “The arrest of the prominent opposition figure may undermine the position of her party. Once taken into custody, she was unable to communicate with the media and her supporters.”

The sides presented their arguments at the Tuesday hearing. The judges asked more than a dozen of questions, mostly to the Ukrainian government. The court was particularly interested in details of the April incident in the transportation of the opposition leader from the penitentiary to the hospital. Timoshenko said three guards twisted her arms and hit her in the stomach. Ukrainian representative for liaison with the European Court of Human Rights Nazar Kulchitsky said with the reference to experts that Timoshenko might have bruised herself or the bruises might have appeared because of her sickness.

The court continued the hearing in camera. The decision deadlines are unknown.

The court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11, 2011, 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 her was opened on October 13, 2011, for writing off the debt of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine, while being the corporation president, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko. Timoshenko is serving a seven-year-term in Kharkov.

She started to receive therapy at the Kharkov clinic on May 9 when her health deteriorated. 

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