Jail Ukraine's Former Leader, Says Prosecutor

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's state prosecutor has demanded a seven-year jail sentence for former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Supporters of Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko scuffle with police near a court office during a hearing of her trial in Kiev September 27, 2011. Ukraine's state prosecutor on Tuesday asked for a seven-year jail sentence to be passed on Tymoshenko in a trial which the West has warned can rebound on the country's hopes of joining the European mainstream.

Tymoshenko, 50, is charged with abuse of office linked to a gas deal with Russia in January 2009 which the leadership of president Viktor Yanukovich claims saddled Ukraine with an exorbitant price for gas. She denies all the charges.

The United States and the European Union view the trial as politically motivated and have urged Mr Yanukovich to find a way of ending the case against her.

But when the trial resumed yesterday after a two-week break, prosecutor Liliya Frolova said the charges against Tymoshenko had been "fully proven" and called for her to be jailed for seven years.

Tymoshenko, who lost a bitter campaign for the presidency to Yanukovich in February 2010 and has denounced the trial as a vendetta, told the court: "This is a continuation of political repression and I am convinced that they are doing this on the orders of President Yanukovich."

Many commentators say the trial has turned into a public relations disaster for Yanukovich, bringing criticism from the West and resurrecting Tymoshenko as a political force.

Source: News Scotsman