Ukraine’s Tymoshenko Ends Hunger Strike

Posted May 9th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Ukraine's jailed former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has ended her nearly three-week hunger strike after being moved from prison to a local hospital.

A German doctor treating Ms. Tymoshenko said Wednesday she halted the hunger strike and that medical experts are preparing her for a normal eating routine.

Ukrainian police escorted Ms. Tymoshenko Wednesday to a hospital in the eastern city of Kharkiv for treatment of her chronic back pain.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is facing growing criticism about her conviction and Ukraine's refusal to let her travel to Germany for treatment.

Germany has been leading Europe's critical stance on her case.

Meanwhile, Poland's president, Bronislaw Komorowski, is appealing to Ukraine's leaders to drop laws that have allowed the imprisonment of Ms. Tymoshenko and others on political grounds.

Her jailing has become a serious issue in Poland because Ukraine and Poland are co-hosting the Euro 2012 football championship from June 8 to July 1.

Some European Union member states have threatened to boycott the championship.

On Tuesday, Ukraine postponed a planned summit of Central and Eastern European leaders, after some pulled out to protest the treatment of Ms. Tymoshenko.

The summit was scheduled to take place in Yalta on Friday and Saturday.

About 10 EU leaders said they will not attend, including German President Joachim Gauck and Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

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 Yanukovich to remove his strongest political rival.

Western nations call the charges politically motivated.