KIEV, January 29, (ITAR-TASS). The Ukrainian parliament has registered a draft law amending the Penal Code to release convicts from prisons if they cannot serve their terms for ill health.
If adopted, the law may release former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko, who is serving a seven-year term in a Kharkov prison.
The Ukrainian opposition has repeatedly proposed draft laws aimed at getting her released. On November 21, 2013, the parliament rejected all six proposed draft laws that suggesting allowing Timoshenko to travel abroad for medical treatment.
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.
The Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) that was headed by Timoshenko before she became prime minister drew suspicion of the tax authorities back in 1996.
The tax authorities had noticed a discrepancy between the taxes paid by the company and its big turnover.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has also filed a lawsuit demanding compensation from Timoshenko in the amount of 19.5 million hryvnia in this case.
Deputy Prosecutor General Yevgeny Blazhivsky said the damage was caused by embezzlement of budget funds and tax evasion.
Ukrainian Security Service chief Igor Kalinin said the investigators had collected enough evidence to prove Timoshenko’s culpable actions committed when she headed the United 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.
“Pre-trial investigation materials showing that Timoshenko made out a contract for that murder together with Lazarenko have been gathered,” Pshonka said.
According to Pshonka, Timoshenko and Lazarenko paid 2.8 million U.S. dollars for Shcherban’s assassination.
In late December 2011, Timoshenko was transferred from the investigation prison to a correctional facility in the eastern Kharkov region. She fell ill on August 18, 2011, two weeks after her arrest. She insisted that she be examined and treated by independent medics. On May 9, 2012, she was admitted to the Kharkov Railway Hospital for medical treatment.
The opposition demanded that Timoshenko be set free and allowed to go abroad for medical treatment.
However, Health Minister Raisa Bogatyreva said the Ukrainian authorities had created all conditions for Timoshenko’s treatment at home.
“Ms Timoshenko is provided with therapeutic and rehabilitation aid according to her condition,” the minister said on Lithuania, where she was on a visit.
She said “a Kharkov clinic that meets all European standards” had been offered to Timoshenko. “We adhere to the required standards, which has been repeatedly confirmed by our colleagues from EU countries and representatives of Timoshenko herself,” Bogatyreva said.