Ukrainian Official: Tymoshenko’s Body Shows Bruises

Posted April 25th, 2012 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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Ukraine's commissioner for human rights says a personal inspection has found the country's jailed former prime minister, Yulia Tymosheko, has bruises on her body.

Nina Karpachyova announced the findings Wednesday, a day after a lawyer for Ms. Tymoshenko said prison guards beat her up while moving her to a hospital last week. The lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said her arms and stomach were bruised from the incident.

He also said Ms. Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike since the alleged beating.

Prosecutors have admitted she was taken to a hospital against her will, but deny allegations she was beaten. She had refused to go to the hospital voluntarily because she does not trust the government's doctors.

Ms. Tymoshenko has complained of severe back pain and has asked for medical treatment monitored by foreign doctors.

The opposition leader was sentenced to seven years in jail last year on charges of abuse of office in a 2009 gas deal with Russia. She is now standing trial on tax evasion charges that could extend her jail time to 12 years.

She denies the charges and argues they are part of a campaign by current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to remove his strongest political rival.

The United States, the European Union and human rights groups have condemned the charges against Ms. Tymoshenko as politically motivated.