Ukraine appeals court refuses to release ex-PM Tymoshenko

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[JURIST] The Kiev Appeals Court on Friday refused [press release] the appeal by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] of her detention for contempt charges [JURIST report]. The judge stated Tymoshenko had no legal grounds to contest her recent arrest. Tymoshenko plans on appealing [press release] to both the Ukraine Supreme Court [official website, in Ukrainian] and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. Defense lawyer Yuriy Sukhov stressed the unfairness of recent rulings against Tymoshenko:

There is no justice in Ukraine. This is judicial lawlessness, when a person is arrested and she can’t appeal this decision. It’s absurd. In its decision the court referred to the fact that we based our appeal on the Constitution and Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which says that national legislation must provide the opportunity to appeal an order of arrest. And even if the laws don’t, then the institution of appeal must make a decision based on the Convention. The judges provided no justification for her decision. She said that Ukrainian law does not provide for appeal. She doesn’t refer to international law or the Constitution, and just says that national law, meaning the Criminal Procedure Code, doesn’t provide for appeal. It’s absurd.

Tymoshenko’s trial will continue on Monday.

Last week, Ukrainian Judge Rodion Kireyev rejected a request [JURIST report] from Tymoshenko to release her from prison. Kireyev again refused to recuse himself the week before, and Tymoshenko announced that she was allowed to call only two of her proposed witnesses [press releases]. In July, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) [official website, in Ukrainian] announced that they are launching a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), an energy company at one time headed by Tymoshenko. Last month, Tymoshenko filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the ECHR alleging violations of the European Convention of Human Rights [text, PDF]. The complaint argued that the charges against Tymoshenko are politically engineered by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian], Tymoshenko’s political rival. ECHR President Jean Paul Costa refused to comment on the complaint [Korrespondent report, in Russian], but said the matter was before the court. The current combined case against her is not the first time she has been prosecuted. Last May, prosecutors reopened a separate criminal investigation [JURIST report] into allegations that Tymoshenko attempted to bribe Supreme Court judges. Tymoshenko’s government was dissolved in March 2010 after she narrowly lost the presidential election to Yanukovych. Tymoshenko had alleged that widespread voter fraud allowed Yanukovych to win the election.

Read more detail on JURIST – Paper Chase

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