Ukraine Kills Bill To Free Tymoshenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's Parliament, the Rada, voted down a draft bill on Wednesday that would have decriminalized article 365 of the Ukrainian legal code on exceeding authority, under which former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was convicted last October.

Yulia Tymoshenko

One hundred and fifty deputies voted for the bill, but 226 voted against.

The main forces behind the demise of the bill were the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, the Communists and the National Party, whose leader Vladimir Litvin is speaker of the Rada.

Tymoshenko was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 for exceeding her authority in signing a gas deal with Russia in 2009.

The deal obliged Ukraine to buy larger amounts of gas than it now needs, and at higher prices than it says is fair.

Ukraine has since consistently sought revision of the deal.

Western leaders have denounced the trial as a political witch-hunt against her, a charge President Viktor Yanukovych denies.

Source: RIA Novosti