Government OKs Tymoshenko Outside Surgery

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s state prison authority on Monday agreed to let jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko undergo possible surgery outside prison to alleviate her persistent back pain.

Yulia Tymoshenko

The authority also provided Tymoshenko with a walker to help her move around her prison cell, as had been suggested last week by German and Canadian doctors.

This comes in contrast with earlier comments by Ukrainian government-appointed doctors and prison officials that Tymoshenko was in “good health” and that the surgery was not needed.

“Although the issue of surgical intervention is not on the agenda and doctors have not suggested, not justified this, we are still ready if it is required to provide such an opportunity,” Yevhen Poliakov, the head of the healthcare department at the State Penitentiary Service, said.

Poliakov said Tymoshenko had been provided with the walker to help her move around the cell, and has been following other recommendations by the German and Canadian doctors.

“We are following those recommendations that have been written by the German and Canadian doctors,” Poliakov said.

The change in the position of the state prison authority comes days after Tymoshenko’s daughter, Eugenia, accused it of denying the proper treatment, which may now require a more complicated procedure, and perhaps even the surgery.

Eugenia said her mother has a hernia, a diagnosis that had vehemently denied days earlier by Raisa Moiseyenko, a deputy healthcare minister and the government-appointed head of a medical team examining Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko, in custody since August 5, 2011, was jailed to seven years in prison in October for abuse of power while ordering to sign a controversial natural gas agreement with Russia in January 2009.

She lost the appeal in December and is currently serving jail sentence in the Kharkiv prison.

Tymoshenko has been complaining of acute back pain in jail for months, and at some point has also reported a mysterious rash on her body.

She refused to be examined by Ukrainian doctors amid concerns her illnesses may be disclosed by prison authorities without her will.

Source: Ukrainian Journal