Ukraine urged to conduct free parliamentary vote

AP News
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Posted: Sep 10, 2012 6:34 AM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The head of Europe's top human rights watchdog is urging the Ukrainian authorities to conduct a free and fair parliamentary election in October.

The election has been tainted by the jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on abuse-of-office charges the West condemned as politically motivated.

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland told reporters Monday that the imprisonment of Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader, was a "problem." He says it is very important for the vote to be honest.

President Viktor Yanukovych will struggle to retain his majority in parliament following the opposition's consolidation after Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison.

She denies all the charges against her and accuses Yanukovych of throwing her in jail to bar her from the vote.