Jailed Ukraine Ex-PM Tymoshenko Seeks Medical Help

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko asked international medical organizations Friday to help examine and treat her worsening health conditions.

A banner placed on seats usually by occupied by opposition lawmakers is used to protest against the arrest of Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, during a session in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. Tymoshenko, 50, was sentenced to seven years in jail last month for abusing office while negotiating a gas supply deal with Russia in 2009. The United States and the European Union have harshly condemned that verdict as politically motivated. The banner reads, "No political repression", "Freedom for Ukraine".

Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence on charges of abuse of office, says she is suffering from severe back pain and from mysterious bruises on her body.

She says she doesn't trust government-appointed doctors and accuses authorities of refusing to let independent medical experts see her.

Tymoshenko's top aide Oleksandr Turchynov said she has turned to the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders and asked them to intervene to help her get examined and treated properly.

The U.S. and the European Union have sharply condemned Tymoshenko's sentence last month as politically motivated.

Tymoshenko's office said authorities have ignored the fact that Tymoshenko cannot walk or stand up because of the back pain and have held daily hours-long interrogations in her jail cell, questioning her as she lay in bed, unable to move.

"Tymoshenko's life is in danger, a sick person is being tortured," Turchynov told reporters Friday.

Tymoshenko charges that President Viktor Yanukovych, her longtime foe, has ordered her imprisonment to bar her from elections.

Yanukovych has resisted Western pressure to release Tymoshenko despite threats that the EU would scrap a landmark association agreement with Ukraine.

Earlier this week, the Parliament controlled by Yanukovych supporters refused to adopt legal amendments that would have turned Tymoshenko into a non-felon and allowed her release.

A member of Tymoshenko's party said Friday the party plans to reintroduce the bill soon, hoping that Western pressure will persuade lawmakers to adopt it.

Source: BostonGlobe