Doubtful Tymoshenko 'Can Recover In Ukraine'

BERLIN, Germany -- A German doctor who has examined Ukraine's jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko said Tuesday that he doubted she could ever recover from serious spinal problems with the care she is receiving.

Dr. Karl Max Einhaeupl.

Karl Max Einhaeupl, head of Berlin's Charite hospital, told reporters in the German capital that Tymoshenko, 51, was under constant surveillance in a hospital room kept in darkness most of the day.

"Her condition has improved," he said.

"But it is ultimately questionable whether she can make a full recovery under these conditions," he added, saying her treatment by German doctors in Ukraine could still take "weeks or months".

Tymoshenko, a driving force of Ukraine's 2004 pro-Western "Orange Revolution", served as prime minister in 2005 and again from 2007 to 2010, when she lost a presidential race to current leader Viktor Yanukovych.

She was sentenced to seven years' prison in 2011 and barred from public office for another three.

The same year she filed an application with the court, claiming her conviction was politically motivated.

Suffering from debilitating spinal problems, she demanded to be treated by foreign doctors in a hospital instead of prison.

On April 20 when Tymoshenko was transferred to a hospital, she received bruises to her stomach and arms.

She launched a hunger strike to protest violence by her prison guards, which she ended on May 9, the day she started receiving hospital treatment under the supervision of a German neurologist.

"Her pain has eased somewhat but it is in no way gone," Einhaeupl said.

"Ms Tymoshenko is now able to move more than before -- she can leave her bed for several hours a day."

But he said that the constant presence of guards and cameras, whose lenses were only covered when she received treatment from a doctor, "is harming her treatment".

"We are never alone with her, there is always someone there," Einhaeupl said.

He noted that the Ukrainian authorities had taped up her windows and only allowed in 15 minutes of sunlight each day.

"The conditions are depressing, for the doctors too," he said.

Europe's top rights court said Friday it was satisfied with the medical treatment given to Tymoshenko but sought more information on the case.

European leaders have echoed Tymoshenko's charge that her conviction was politically motivated, and have been putting mounting pressure on Ukraine to release her.

Source: AFP