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KIEV, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - The Ukrainian presidential commission on pardoning will be able to consider the so-called Timoshenko case only after she compensates all losses incurred by the gas deals with Russia she signed when she was Ukrainian prime minister, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, Vladimir Rybak said on Friday.
“A person signs a document undertaking to compensate losses, and after that the presidential commission considers his or her application for pardon,” Rybak told the national television. The president, he stressed, has no grounds to consider the former prime minister’s application. “It is in the competences of the parliament,” he said.
According to Rybak, Timoshenko’s future lot will be clear after the Verkhova Rada considers next week three bills allowing prisoners to undergo medical treatment in foreign medical institutions.
The Verkhovna Rada’s next plenary session will be held on November 5 to 8. Over these days, the lawmakers are to consider bills initiated by lawmakers Sergei Mishchenko and Anzhela Labunskaya, and a bill initiated by three opposition factions. These bills envisage amendments to the country’s laws to allow prisoners to undergo medical treatment abroad. Apart from that, the opposition bill provides for “automatic pardoning of Yulia Timoshenko in line with the European Court ruling.
Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko is serving her seven-year jail term at a prison in Kharkov, Ukraine, for abuse of office while signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009. For over a year she has been in a hospital located in Kharkov. The Timoshenko case is now a stumbling block on the path of Ukraine’s signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in late November in Vilnius. Several days ago, the European Parliament warned Ukraine it had to settle this issue before November 18, otherwise the agreement might be frustrated.
Meanwhile, the opposition says Timoshenko might be freed by a decree of President Viktor Yanukovich. But the president said it was up to the parliament to pass a law that would facilitate her treatment abroad and promised to sign such law.
The opposition hoped that the Timoshenko case could be resolved by the presidential commission on pardoning, which had its latest meeting on Thursday. It had 53 motions to pardon the former prime minister, including those signed by the leaders of the European Parliament monitoring mission, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former President of the European Parliament Pat Cox, but the commission refused to put this issue on its agenda.
At a government meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said that Ukraine had had to pay an extra of 20 billion U.S. dollars in three years because of the gas deals signed by Timoshenko.