Ukraine Judge To Issue Tymoshenko Verdict On October 11

KIEV — The judge in the trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Friday he will start reading the verdict from October 11 amid mounting pressure from the European Union for her freedom.

Yulia Tymoshenko is charged with abuse of power over gas deals signed with Russia in 2009.

"The court is going to deliberate until October 11," judge Rodion Kireyev told the court as Tymoshenko shouted "Glory to Ukraine!" to her supporters cramped into the Kiev courtroom who replied "Glory to the Heroes!".

In another of the spats with Kireyev that has marked the three-month trial, Tymoshenko accused the judge of robbing him of her last words as he refused to give her until Monday to prepare a final statement.

"He has de-facto deprived me of my last words," she complained.

Tymoshenko is being tried for abuse of power for signing gas deals with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors say were overly advantageous for Moscow.

EU officials say such accusations should never have been brought to court.

Prosecutors, who have said Tymoshenko sustained a loss to the budget of 1.5 billion hryvnia ($190 million), want a seven-year jail sentence.

Tymoshenko has said the trial is a bid by President Viktor Yanukovych to eliminate his biggest rival from politics forever while the European Union has raised concern about a possible political motivation in the trial.

A conviction would severely endanger Ukraine's hopes of signing an association agreement with the European Union this year which would be a first step towards its goal of joining the bloc.

"What is happening here is a perfect example of dictatorship in Ukraine. No-one is interested in proof, evidence or the law," Tymoshenko told the court earlier.

Earlier in one of the first hints of a compromise solution, Ukraine's ruling party said it was ready to examine the possibility of decriminalising the charges that have been laid against Tymoshenko.

Regions Party deputy chairman Dmytro Shentsev, whose faction holds a clear majority in parliament, said it would examine the move if Tymoshenko was prepared to pay back the losses she caused to the state.

Source: AFP

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