Ukraine Judge Delays Tymoshenko Trial

Posted September 12th, 2011 at 10:57 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A Ukrainian judge has suspended the trial of former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko for two weeks.

Judge Rodion Kireyev decided Monday to postpone the trial until September 27 to guarantee the rights of the defense and provide extra time.

Ms. Tymoshenko says the suspension shows that the case against her “has fallen apart.”

The European Union and the United States have been pressing the government of President Viktor Yanukovych to guarantee a fair trial for Ms. Tymoshenko and to address concerns that this trial and others are part of a government campaign of selective prosecution of the opposition in Ukraine.

Ms. Tymoshenko, who has been in custody since early August, is charged with abusing her powers by signing a 2009 gas contract with Russia without the government's endorsement.

The former prime minister was jailed during the trial for violating court procedures.

She has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated and says the trial is part of a political vendetta by President Yanukovych.

Ms. Tymoshenko is one of about 400 officials under investigation for crimes allegedly committed while in office. Critics say the only cases that have come to trial involve political figures opposed to President Yanukovych.

Ms. Tymoshenko rose to fame in 2004 as a leader of Ukraine's “Orange Revolution” street campaign, which forced the Supreme Court to toss out the results of a disputed presidential election won by Mr. Yanukovych. The two competed in last year's presidential election, which Mr. Yanukovych won.

Ms. Tymoshenko is expected to be the main opposition candidate in next year's election. She will not be eligible to run if she is convicted.