Jailed Ukraine Leader to Seek Care at Clinic

May 5, 2012

Associated Press

KIEV—Ukraine’s jailed and ailing ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko tentatively agreed to have her back condition treated at a local hospital under the supervision of a German doctor, a step that will ease tensions with European officials who consider her a political prisoner.

The 51-year-old Tymoshenko is on a hunger strike to protest alleged mistreatment in prison as she serves a seven-year sentence on charges of abusing her powers when she was prime minister.

Critics have described her case as politically motivated, saying President Viktor Yanukovych, Ms. Tymoshenko’s rival in the 2010 presidential election, has orchestrated her prosecution. Government officials have denied any claims of bias in the case.

Ms. Tymoshenko has claimed she was beaten by prison guards and showed bruises. But Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told reporters Friday that there are no grounds to assert that she had been beaten.

Her case has become a public-relations nightmare for Ukraine, as prominent European officials have been talking about boycotting soccer matches that Ukraine is hosting with Poland for the continent’s euro 2012 championships that begin in June.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle confirmed the deal securing treatment for Ms. Tymoshenko with a German doctors’ participation, saying it was a positive first step and talks with the Ukrainian leadership to achieve a sustainable solution will continue.

Ms. Tymoshenko lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko said the treatment for a herniated disc will start Tuesday at a hospital in the eastern city of Kharkiv where she is jailed. He said Ms. Tymoshenko will give her final approval after meeting with her attorneys next week.

Ms. Tymoshenko’s aide Alexander Turchinov on Friday raised alarm about the former premier’s health.

To read more, visit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304749904577384400814442994.html

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