KIEV, Ukraine -- Infamous Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has started a hunger strike after claiming mistreatment in prison.
She has stated that she was beaten by prison guards, and a human rights ombudsman has confirmed bruising on Tymoshenko’s body.
The Euronews video from Kiev shows an interesting reaction to Tymoshenko’s case: some politicians have very little sympathy, the human rights representative insists that Tymoshenko has been bruised by the guards, and the people of Ukraine are deeply confused and not sure what to think about the whole thing.
The politician who states that Tymoshenko’s hunger strike and her allegations of physical abuse are nothing but an attempt to keep the case fresh in the European Parliament is Inna Bohoslovska, a well-known hater of Tymoshenko and long-time politician with her own political agenda.
Earlier this year Bohoslovska produced evidence — seemingly out of nowhere — incriminating Tymoshenko for unlawful handling of gas negotiations.
A rival of the former prime-minister, now Bohoslovska has the upper hand in their long lasting rivalry.
It’s probably in her interest, too, to keep Tymoshenko in shackles because were she to go free she probably wouldn’t hesitate to resort to some low tactics of her own.
Tymoshenko has always been known as an opportunistic persona prone to dramatic self-promotion.
During the presidential elections in 2009 she declared a swine flu pandemic had hit Ukraine and called for the closing of all public events, large meetings and shows — postponing other candidates’ campaigns.
Meanwhile, she, as the prime-minister, occupied television screens visiting hospital sites, giving away masks and medication, using the so-called pandemic to bolster her own campaign.
There were no signs of an actual pandemic, except for unconfirmed number of incidents of unknown flu, but it gave Tymoshenko the opportunity to shine.
During the flood disaster in Western Ukraine in 2008, together with president Yushchenko, she visited flooded villages as part of a media blitz, promising help to people who had lost their homes and funding to areas in the disaster zone.
It was good for her public image.
Nobody has heard any updates on how much help that area actually received but Tymoshenko’s visible presence in the disaster zone has probably got her quite a few new supporters.
Despite her tendency for dramatization, the fact that Tymoshenko has now begun a hunger strike and says she’s been mistreated in prison doesn’t look like a mere plea for media attention.
After all, she is in prison — she’s been there for about six months now — and now human rights representative, Nina Karpachyova, also a member of Ukraine’s parliament, confirmed that there are signs of physical abuse and demands an investigation.
Since the case began, The EU and the US have stated repeatedly that they want to see Tymoshenko free .
Following news of the hunger strike, the European Union became very concerned.
Even Russia called on Ukraine to treat Tymoshenko with humanity.
The accusations of “abuse of the office” seem politically motivated.
There are still many unanswered questions and unclear moments, despite media reports and attempts to investigate the issue surrounding the gas contracts by Tymoshenko in 2009, for which she is imprisoned.
What is clear is that we have a person with signs of abuse confirmed by a human rights representative.
The further this matter develops, the more obvious it becomes that some independent international experts should get involved – the sooner the better.