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Former Ukraine premier denies involvement in lawmaker's murder

January 22, 2013, 17:48 UTC+3
"The statement of being a suspect was handed in illegally, in the absence of the lawyer," her daughter Eugenia Timoshenko said
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KIEV, January 22 (Itar-Tass) — Ukrainian Opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko denies the charges of masterminding the murder of lawmaker and businessman Yevgeny Shcherban, her daughter Eugenia Timoshenko said on Tuesday. "She denies any accusations read to her. The statement of being a suspect was handed in illegally, in the absence of the lawyer," Eugenia said, adding that her mother was continuing her disobedience action.

Reports said fighters of the special task force unit Berkut arrived at Kharkov hospital # 5 where the former premier is undergoing treatment. According to the press service of Timoshenko’s Batkivshchina Party, Opposition lawmakers had met with the chief doctor earlier in the day who promised that Timoshenko's lawyer Sergei Vlasenko would be allowed to see his client.

However, after the meeting with the doctor, a busful of Berkut fighters drove onto the hospital premises. They entered through the back door and went to the floor where Timoshenko's ward is located," lawmaker Oleg Medunitsa said. The hospital staff did not offer any explanations.

Batkivshchina's deputy chairman, lawmaker Grigory Nemyrya said U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft and EU mission head Jan Tombinski demand permission to meet with Timoshenko: "we are hoping that such access will be granted to the envoys of the European Union and the USA."

On January 18, the PGO informed Timoshenko that she was a suspect in the /lawmaker Yevgeny/ Shcherban murder case.

According to the prosecutor general, "she /Timoshenko/ might be sentenced to life imprisonment under this article." "The pre-trial materials gathered by the investigators show that Timoshenko had indeed made a contract together with Lazarenko to kill Shcherban."

Ukrainian lawmaker Yevgeny Shcherban was gunned down at the Donetsk airport after his arrival from Moscow on November 3, 1996. The criminals escaped in a car. Timoshenko and former premier Pavel Lazarenko denied their involvement in the murder.

Also, a criminal case was opened against Timoshenko about financial abuse at Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine /UESU/ she headed in the second half of 1990s.

Timoshenko is serving a 7-year sentence at the Kachanovskaya penitentiary in the town of Kharkov, for exceeding her authority when signing the gas agreement with Russia in 2009. She has been in a Kharkov hospital for more than eight months.

On January 8, 2013, Timoshenko started a civil disobedience action. She refused to talk with the investigators and prosecutors or go to court on her own accord, warning that she would resist her forceful convoying. The former premier also demanded that the authorities stop her video monitoring and replace the guards.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Vladimir Oleinik from the ruling Party of Regions called for live broadcast of the Timoshenko trial. "The trial should be open. Live broadcast, where the procedure permits, is needed so that the public and the press know all the details and that it is not only the court that makes the decision but that people themselves could see what evidence gives reasons to claim that the politician /Yulia Timoshenko/ has performed such acts," Oleinik said.

The Prosecutor General's Office intends to begin investigative actions with Yulia Timoshenko within the Shcherban murder case, if she selects her lawyer and agrees to testimony.

"If she /Timoshenko/; decides on who her lawyer will be and agrees to testify, we plan to begin investigative actions on Thursday," chief of the department for handling serious cases Andrei Kurys said.

The State Penitentiary Service /GPtS/ said Timoshenko had refused to meet with her lawyer Sergei Vlasenko in the meeting room.

"The convict continues to refuse to meet with Vlasenko despite the fact that penitentiary service personnel had offered her to meet with her lawyer several times," a GPtS official said.

He said nobody was interfering with Timoshenko’s' meeting with her lawyers. "In our people, inmate Timoshenko planned her actions to discredit GPtS personnel and throw further accusations at them," he added.

Timoshenko's daughter said her mother's condition was deteriorating. "She is in the bathroom; she sleeps in a trestle bed, in the conditions unbearable for sleep. She's slept many nights that way, so her condition has sharply deteriorated. She cannot move or get up now," the daughter said.

Eugenia reminded that her mother was staying in the bathroom because of her protests and that "a month ago she complained about heartache."

But chief doctor Mikhail Afanasyev said Timoshenko was feeling well. "The information alleging that she cannot move and walk does not correspond to reality. She is in satisfactory condition and feels OK. I personally talked with her today; she's quite active, she even made jokes," he said.

He believes the claims about the former premier's deteriorating health are not objective. "Judge for yourself: it's the ninth month already that the patient's been at our facility under medical supervision; she has had more than 500 rehabilitation procedures. Also, our German colleagues repeatedly noted an improvement in Timoshenko's general condition of health over the whole period of rehabilitation," Afanasyev said.

 

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