Appeals court turns down Tymoshenko appeal

AP News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2011 2:34 PM
Appeals court turns down Tymoshenko appeal

A court in Ukraine on Friday refused to consider an appeal to release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail, where she has been kept for a week while her abuse-of-office trial proceeds.

Tymoshenko was jailed on Aug. 5 for violating court procedures at her trial, including refusing to rise when requested by the judge. She says her resistance is a protest of a trial she contends is politically motivated.

On Friday, the Kiev Appeal Court refused to hear an appeal, saying the country's criminal code does not allow appealing a preventive measure.

Tymoshenko attorney Yuriy Sukhov said that ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Tymoshenko is charged in connection with a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim was disadvantageous to Ukraine.

The United States and the European Union have condemned court cases against Tymoshenko and several of her top allies as selective prosecution of political opponents. Tymoshenko was a key figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that forced annulment of a presidential election purportedly won by Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko in presidential elections last year.

On Friday, the German government's human rights commissioner, Markus Loening, warned Ukrainian authorities against "selective and politically motivated justice," saying that the rule of law was essential for closer ties between Ukraine and the EU.

"The German government will, together with its partners in the European Union, watch further developments in Ukraine very closely," Loening said in a statement.

Italy summoned Ukraine's ambassador to the foreign ministry to express concern about Tymoshenko's trial. The ministry said it will emphasize the "need for full respect for fundamental freedoms, for the state of law and for proceedings that are transparent and fully responsive to the democratic rules and international standards on justice."