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Timoshenko’s allies denied visit to her at hospital because of quarantine

November 26, 2013, 0:48 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, November 25, 21:39 /ITAR-TASS/. Former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko’s allies were not allowed on Monday, November 25, to visit her in the hospital in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, where she is undergoing medical treatment since May 2012, because of the quarantine.

“Visits have been limited because of the deteriorating sanitary and epidemiological situation in Kharkov,” the hospital’s deputy chief physician Irina Fursa said.

The restrictions have been applied to all correctional institutions in the Kharkov region. Igor Kolpashchikov, the director of Kharkov’s Kachanivska penal colony, where Timoshenko was transferred in 2011 to serve her prison term, said she would not be able to meet with her daughter Yevgenia and lawyers for the same reason.

Timoshenko was arrested on August 5, 2011 in the so-called “gas case” for “systematically obstructing the establishment of truth, breaking order during the court hearings, ignoring the judge’s instructions, delaying the process and showing disrespect for the court.” On October 11, 2011, Timoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for having acted in excess of her powers which had resulted in damage to national interests.Timoshenko was also barred from holding public positions for three years and has to pay a penalty of 189 million U.S. dollars in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy. She has also been charged with financial abuses in the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine.

On October 20, 2011, the Prosecutor General’s Office cancelled the decision to close the criminal case against Timoshenko in which she was charged with embezzlement of more than 25 million hryvnia (more than 10 million U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of 1995-1997, when Timoshenko headed the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine), tax evasion in the amount of more than 20 million hryvnia by using a criminal financial scheme for settlements with the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine for natural gas and by concealing incomes from the operations of her offshore company Somolli Enterprise Limited from taxation.

Timoshenko may also be incriminated in the MP Yevgeny Shcherban assassination case in which she is alleged to be the mastermind of the crime and ex-Prime Minister Pvel Lazarenko its perpetrator.

On January 18, 2013, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office provided Timoshenko with notice informing her that she was suspected of involvement in the killing of MP Shcherban. Prosecutor General Pshonka said Timoshenko might be sentenced to life imprisonment in this case.

According to Pshonka, Timoshenko and Lazarenko paid 2.8 million U.S. dollars for Shcherban’s assassination.

Timoshenko is now undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in Kharkov. She fell ill on August 18, 2011, two weeks after her arrest. Physicians believe that Timoshenko has discal hernia. She had been complaining about pains in the back. However she mistrusts Ukrainian medics and has rejected their help. She insists that she be examined and treated by independent medics.

However Health Minister Raisa Bogatyreva said the Ukrainian authorities had created all conditions for Timoshenko’s treatment at home. She said “a Kharkov clinic that meets all European standards” had been offered to Timoshenko.

Timoshenko’s supporters demand that the Ukrainian authorities let her go to Germany for medical treatment. However this is prohibited by Ukrainian legislation.

But the ruling Party of Regions has put forth several conditions for solving the so-called “Timoshenko issue”.

One is that a court should get the opinion of a commission made up of Ukrainian doctors, which would confirm that a prisoner has a severe condition that cannot be cured in Ukraine. The second condition is that a foreign clinic of recognised standing, such as German Charite Clinic, should confirm that a person has such condition and that it cannot be cured in Ukraine. And this foreign clinic should assume an obligation to provide treatment to this prisoner. The fourth condition is that the court will decide for how long a person will go abroad, and the Health Ministry will determine the optimal period of time for treating grave conditions.

The Party of Regions also wants Timoshenko to pledge in court that she would return to Ukraine after treatment in a foreign clinic in order to continue to serve her prison term. However the party says this law should not apply to persons who have committed grave or very grave crimes.

On November 21, the parliament rejected all six proposed draft laws on medical treatment of prisoners abroad.

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