Ukraine Relents On Tymoshenko Treatment

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian authorities, after two weeks of resisting a request by the European Court of Human Rights, on Monday allowed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to receive medical treatment outside of prison.

Yulia Tymoshenko will have treatment in a hospital outside the jail.

Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka on Monday ordered the state prison authorities and the Healthcare Ministry to “take needed measures” to make sure Tymoshenko gets the treatment in a hospital.

Although Tymoshenko has not yet selected a medical institution to treat her back pain, the authorities have suggested using the hospital of UkrZaliznytsia, the state rail road company.

The development is the second major victory for Tymoshenko, who was detained on August 5, 2011 and jailed in December 2011 to seven years in prison for abuse of power.

Her first victory was in February when the authorities have agreed to allow German and Canadian doctors check - and document - her health problems in the prison.

Tymoshenko insisted that her prosecution was politically motivated and aimed at cracking down on opposition figure, and appealed on August 10, 2011 to the European Court of Human Rights.

The sudden decision to allow Tymoshenko get the treatment outside the prison is an embarrassment for the Ukrainian authorities, which have originally even denied she needs any serious medical treatment.

Also, it shows the authorities have changed their mind about the European Court, which on March 15 decided to indicate that Tymoshenko receives “adequate medical treatment in an appropriate institution.”

Oleksandr Lavrynovych, the justice minister, last month said Ukraine did not have to act on the indication from the Court.

Raisa Moiseyenko, a deputy healthcare minister and the government-appointed head of the medical commission examining Tymoshenko in February, said that UkrZaliznytsia hospital has a special department capable of treating back problems.

“This is really the best medical institution,” Moiseyenko said after visiting Tymoshenko in the prison.

But Tymoshenko’s defense lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said it was too early to say whether Tymoshenko will accept the treatment at this hospital.

“We have to invite German doctors to inspect the hospital whether it meets those treatment recommendations that they have given,” Vlasenko said.

“They must check it out and say: yes, this is good for making therapy that they had prescribed.”

Vlasenko also stressed that Tymoshenko lacks confidence in the state-controlled hospital.

“It is unclear who will be treating Tymoshenko at UkrZaliznytsia hospital,” Vlasenko said.

“Are we talking about people that depend on the management of UkrZaliznytsia, which in turn depends on the Transportation Ministry and President Viktor Yanukovych?”

“I will see Yulia Volodymyrivna [Tymoshenko] tomorrow and will talk to her about it,” Vlasenko said.

Tymoshenko, who lost an appeal in Ukraine in December 2011, lodged an application with the European Court alleging that her criminal prosecution an detention were politically motivated, and that her detention condition are inadequate, with no medical care provided for her numerous health problems.

The European Court decided on December 14, 2011 to give priority to the case – Tymoshenko vs. Ukraine (application No. 49872/11) – in view of the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations raised.

On March 14, Tymoshenko applied before the European Court for an interim measure, asking to be transferred to an appropriate medical institution in view of her health.

Source: Ukrainian Journal


Tom said…
While visiting in Kharkov two years ago, I was given an MRI and diagnosed with several prolapsed disks in the lumbar part of my spine. The neurologist I spoke with told me that I could have the surgery performed in Ukraine at minimal cost which sounded attractive, but he warned me that Ukraine lacks the rehabilitation facilities that would allow one to fully recover from such surgery. Thus, whereas Ms. Tymoshenko may have surgery in Ukraine, I have to feel that unless she is allowed to leave the country for necessary physical therapy and rehabilitation, then only half of her problem will be solved. I somehow don’t believe that she will ever be freed for any reason…