Ukraine's Tymoshenko To Seek Justice Abroad: Lawyer

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko hopes foreign courts such as the European Court of Human Rights will throw out her conviction for abuse-of-office, her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko said on Monday.

Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and her daughter Yevhenia attend a session at the Pecherskiy district court in Kiev October 11, 2011.

A Ukrainian court sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison last month for exceeding her powers in forcing through a gas supply deal with Russia which the government says has saddled Ukraine with an exorbitant price for gas.

She has dismissed the case as part of political vendetta by President Viktor Yanukovich, who narrowly beat her in the 2010 presidential elections and whose party is set to compete against Tymoshenko's in an October 2012 parliamentary poll.

A local court is due to hear Tymoshenko's appeal in the coming months but Vlasenko said he had little hope that a domestic court would overturn her conviction.

"There are no independent law enforcement bodies and no independent justice in Ukraine," he said.

"In such circumstances, it seems more likely that we will be able to prove her innocence in jurisdictions outside Ukraine.

We are considering different options including applying to the European Court of Human Rights."

Tymoshenko gained worldwide prominence as a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution which doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.

Twice prime minister, she remains one of Ukraine's most popular politicians and a major political threat to the president's party.

The European Union has said its planned deals with Ukraine on political association and free trade could be jeopardized if she remains jailed.

As a compromise solution, her supporters in the parliament had suggested that Tymoshenko's crime could be reclassified down to a misdemeanor, like speeding.

That would enable her to go free and compete in elections, while allowing the government to maintain the 2009 deal with Russia was still wrong.

But Yanukovich's Party of Regions said it would vote against such a move.

Whatever decision is taken on the gas supply deal case, Tymoshenko faces fresh legal action on theft and tax evasion charges.

The Tax Administration says it plans to complete its criminal probe into those charges by the end of this year.

State prosecutors are also investigating whether she was involved in the 1996 contract killing of a parliament deputy.

Her supporters have denied she played any role in the death.

Tymoshenko, 50, has been in detention since August 5 and her lawyers said she cannot walk due to back pains.

The detention center administration has said she hurt herself in an accident.

Source: Yahoo News