Tymoshenko Prison Transfer Contested By Defence

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- On 5 January, Ukrainian prison officials said that the transfer of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko from a Kiev penitentiary to one in Kharkiv was lawful.

Supporters of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko gesture as they take part in a protest outside the women's jail where she is being held in Kharkiv.

Tymoshenko's daughter and defence lawyer, Eugenia Tymoshenko, called the move from the detention centre to the penal colony "absolutely outrageous and illegal," ITAR-Tass reported on 3 January.

Eugenia said she was not informed of the move at the time.

The State Penitentiary Service said that the Pecherskyi District Court of Kiev's decision to sentence Tymoshenko to seven years in prison has come into effect in accordance with the Kiev Appeal Court's decision of 23 December 2011.

In connection with this, the Pecherskyi District Court issued a directive on implementation of the sentence and sent it to the Lukianivka remand prison.

"According to Article 87 of the Penal Code of Ukraine, persons sentenced to imprisonment are to be sent to the place where they will serve their sentence no later than ten days after the sentence comes into force," the State Penitentiary Service said.

Simultaneously, according to the State Penitentiary Service, the investigator in charge of the other criminal case in connection with which detention of Tymoshenko was ordered has informed the administration of the Lukianivka remand prison that there is no need to keep her at the remand prison.

"Thus, the transfer of Tymoshenko from the Lukianivka remand prison to the Kachanivska women's penal colony in Kharkiv on 30 December 2011 was in accordance with the active legislation and within the period established by law," the State Penitentiary Service said in the statement.

In total, the State Penitentiary Service informs that 209 prisoners whose sentences had come into effect were transferred from the Lukianivka remand prison to the relevant penal institutions during the week before the New Year in accordance with the procedures established by law.

Defence counsel Serhiy Vlasenko said the former prime minister's health has deteriorated in prison.

"Despite the bravura statements by the Health Ministry, she cannot move unaided, so it is difficult for me to judge what they mean by satisfactory health condition. Probably, the main task of the Health Ministry's medical commission is to misinform the international community about the health condition of Yulia Tymoshenko," he said outside the prison on 5 January.

On 5 January, more than one hundred supporters of Tymoshenko protested outside the prison where she is being held, calling for her to be freed.

The former premier was sentenced on 11 October to seven years in prison for abuse of power during her time in office.

Tymoshenko’s conviction was followed by charges of financial crimes, allegedly committed while she was head of the state power company in the 1990s, which could keep her in prison even if the original case against her is overturned.

The Tymoshenko affair has sparked tensions between Kiev and the European Union which suspects that the probes against the opposition leader, which started soon after the election of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanykovich, are politically motivated.

Yanukovych has denied such claims.

Source: New Europe