A Ukraine court has again adjourned the trial of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The judge has granted a request by the prosecution that she undergo a health check to see if she is fit to stand trial.
The court in the city of Kharkiv on Monday readjourned Tymoshenko's trial on tax evasion and embezzlement charges, setting the new date for July 10. It comes after the former prime minister refused to appear in court because of poor health.
Tymoshenko, who is serving a controversial prison sentence for abuse of power, has been treated by a German doctor upon her request. The doctor had stated that the 51-year-old was not fit to stand trial.
Supporters as well as opponents held rival rallies outside the court on Monday, demanding "Freedom for Yulia" or waving placards accusing Tymoshenko of neglecting the country when she was premier from 2007 to 2010.
The ruling threatens to create another confrontation with the EU, whose members have openly criticized her treatment by the authorities. Some leaders stayed away from Euro 2012 football matches being hosted by the country to show their misgivings about what they perceive as human rights violations.
The EU was represented in court by former Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski and Ireland's one-time European Parliament leader Pat Cox. They both visited Tymoshenko in hospital on Sunday.
The case has set Ukraine on a collision course with the European Union that has delayed the signature of an agreement that could pave the way for Kyiv's future membership in the bloc.
Separately on Tuesday, Tymoshenko's appeal against last year's abuse-of-power conviction will be heard by judges.
ng/rc (dpa, AFP)