Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader is moved to hospital | News | DW | 21.04.2012
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Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader is moved to hospital

Ukraine's government has allowed the country's opposition leader to be moved from her jail cell to a local hospital. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was to receive medical care there for back pain.

Tymoshenko's lawyer expressed doubts on Saturday as to whether she had given her approval to be transferred to the hospital in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where she has been jailed since last year.

"She was moved at night, suddenly and right before the start of the weekend, when she will not be able to meet with her defense," court representative Serhiy Vlasenko told the AFP news agency.

Tymoshenko went on trial on Thursday for tax evasion, but said her pain was too great to allow her to attend.

She was convicted to seven years imprisonment in October for abusing her power as prime minister to broker a gas deal with Russia, which was deemed against national interests by the current government.

Key to European ties

The 51-year-old's imprisonment has become a key issue in Ukraine's relations with the EU, which sees the case as an example of selective justice. The European Court for Human Rights is examining the appeal against her conviction. It has urged the government to ensure she receives proper treatment for her condition.

The hospital she was moved to had been approved by German doctors earlier this week; she had previously refused treatment at any Ukrainian hospitals without the approval of the doctors who examined her earlier in the year.

"After reviewing the conclusions of German doctors, Tymoshenko expressed a desire to begin treatment in the clinic that was proposed for her ... in the city of Kharkiv," the Ukrainian prison service said in a statement.

The government of President Viktor Yanukovich has accused her of faking or exaggerating her pain to avoid further court sessions and gain sympathy from the West.

sb/ncy (Reuters, AFP)