Judge Rejects Prosecution Request To Arrest Tymoshenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- The judge in former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's abuse of power trial has refused a prosecution motion to arrest her for disrupting the proceedings.

Yulia Tymoshenko attends a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. She can be seen twitting on her iPad.

In his decision in the Kiev court, Judge Rodion Kireyev agreed with prosecutors that Tymoshenko had disrupted and delayed the proceedings while showing disdain for the court.

But he dismissed the prosecution's request, saying the court has other methods available to maintain order and arrest should be used only as a last resort.

Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader, has denounced the trial as a pre-arranged farce and accused the judge of being a “puppet” of President Viktor Yanukovych, who, she said, is trying to bar her from challenging him politically.

The 50-year-old Tymoshenko is charged with abuse of power for signing a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim was disadvantageous for Ukraine.

The United States has criticized the Tymoshenko trial and other corruption probes involving her and her top allies as having “the appearance of politically motivated prosecutions.”

If convicted, Tymoshenko would be barred from running in upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

Mr. Yanukovych narrowly defeated Ms. Tymoshenko in presidential elections last year.

Source: Voice of America

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