Court Ruling Favors Ukraine’s Ex-Premier

from The Wall Street Journal..

April 30, 2013, By KATYA GORCHINSKAYA in Kiev and JAMES MARSON in Moscow

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People pass by a poster of Ukraine’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at a tent camp of her supporters in Kiev on Tuesday.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that the pre-trial detention of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was unlawful, adding to Western pressure on Kiev to release her.

A Ukrainian court had ordered Ms. Tymoshenko, the main political rival of President Viktor Yanukovych, detained in August 2011 during her trial for abuse of office. She was convicted two months later and sentenced to seven years in jail.

Ms. Tymoshenko says her detention and prosecution—which have strained Ukraine’s relations with the West—were aimed at removing her from the national political scene.

Ms. Tymoshenko, 52, was a leader of the Orange Revolution, which thwarted Mr. Yanukovych’s first run at the presidency in 2004. He narrowly defeated her in a presidential runoff in 2010 and then dismissed her as prime minister.


The U.S. and the European Union have called on Ukraine to release Ms. Tymoshenko, calling her jailing a case of selective prosecution. The EU has warned it may not sign a planned political-association and free-trade agreement if she isn’t released.

Ms. Tymoshenko, who is still hospitalized, is facing two other criminal cases. In one of those, prosecutors have accused her of involvement in the 1996 death of a lawmaker and businessman, charges she has denied.

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