Tymoshenko’s Daughter Meets German Minister

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 11:45 am (UTC-5)
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The daughter of imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is in Germany, in a bid to increase pressure on the Ukrainian leadership to release her mother for medical treatment.

Yevgenia Tymoshenko was due to meet in Berlin Monday with Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to discuss her mother's case and the rule of law in Ukraine.

Yulia Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike for about two weeks after she said she was beaten by guards. She needs medical treatment for a back condition diagnosed by German doctors who say it cannot be treated in Ukraine. Ukraine has refused to allow her to go to Germany for treatment, but have agreed to allow a German doctor treat her at a Ukranian hospital this week.

Germany has been leading Europe's critical stance on the Tymoshenko case. Last week, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwell threatened to block a political and trade deal between Ukraine and the European Union if the jailed opposition leader is not given adequate health care.

Ukraine could also face a boycott of the upcoming Euro 2012 football games being played there.

Ukraine and Poland are co-hosting the football championship games, from June 8 until July 1.

Also last week, Czech President Vaclav Klaus and German President Joachim Gauck both announced they will not attend a Yalta summit of Central European heads of state scheduled for later this week.

Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison 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 prison time to 12 years. Ms. Tymoshenko denies the charges and says they are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovich to remove his strongest political rival.

Western nations call the charges politically motivated.