Ukraine's Tymoshenko To Bring Case To European Rights Court

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Ukraine's ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko is weak yet combative and will turn to the European Court of Human Rights to rule on her case, Belgium's former prime minister Guy Verhofstadt said Friday.

Yulia Tymoshenko shows her bruises.

"Physically she is very weak. She has back pain and was lying down throughout the visit," Verhofstadt told AFP after a meeting with the fiery Orange Revolution leader that lasted over an hour.

"But she is in high spirits and remains very combative," said Verhofstadt, who leads the liberals and democrats in the European Parliament.

Tymoshenko, 51, is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power and now faces fresh charges that could extend her sentence to 2023.

"For her, the only objective authority capable of treating her case is the European Court of Human Rights and she wishes to bring her case there as quickly as possible," Verhofstadt said.

A Ukrainian court on Monday once more adjourned a tax evasion trial of Tymoshenko due to her absence in hospital with debilitating back pains and set the next hearing for late June.

With the delay, Tymoshenko believes Ukraine's leaders have found a way to "eliminate a political adversary for legislative elections on October 29", Verhofstadt said.

Her latest trial began on April 19 but has been adjourned twice already because the opposition leader complained that her severe back pains forced her to lie down.

She has been hospitalised at a public clinic since May 9.

Last week the Ukrainian appeals court also decided to postpone until June 26 its consideration of Tymoshenko's appeal against her sentence for abuse of power.

Her jailing prompted howls of international criticism.

The European Union and many member countries have threatened their officials will boycott matches in the Euro 2012 that Ukraine co-hosts with Poland from June 8 to July 1.

Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine is one of the four Ukrainian cities to host the tournament, but the last match will be held in the city on June 17, before Tymoshenko's next hearing.

Source: EU Business