Kiev Court Rejects Tymoshenko’s Appeal

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 5:25 am (UTC-5)
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A Ukrainian court has rejected an appeal to free former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko after she was arrested last week for contempt of court in her trial on charges of abuse of power.

The Kyiv court rejected the former prime minister's appeal Friday. The judge ignored U.S., European and Russian criticism to keep Ms. Tymoshenko in jail as her trial proceeds.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has rejected calls to intervene in the trial of his political rival.

Mr. Yanukovych has been criticized by the West for his government's handling of the trial, which many Western governments say appears to be politically motivated.

The charges against Ms. Tymoshenko stem from a 2009 deal that ended Russia's cutoff of natural gas to Ukraine. Ukrainian prosecutors say she broke the law by not consulting with her government before signing the deal, which they say was not advantageous for Ukraine and cost the country $190 million. She has denied the charges.

The gas deal was among the topics covered in a meeting Thursday in Sochi between Mr. Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The Ukrainian leader said the two sides need to seek a compromise in their dispute over gas prices.

Earlier this week, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia expressed concern about Ms. Tymoshenko's case and the rule of law in Ukraine, saying all Ukrainians are entitled to fair, transparent and independent judicial proceedings. The United States also expressed concern.