Ukraine's Tymoshenko Refuses To Attend Tax Trial: Daughter

KIEV, Ukraine -- Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has refused to attend a tax evasion and embezzlement trial due to restart this week, her daughter said on Monday.

A woman walks past a poster in a camp of supporters of jailed opposition leader Tymoshenko in central Kiev.

Tymoshenko, the main political foe of President Viktor Yanukovich, was sentenced to seven years in prison last October for abuse of office, a case that the European Union condemned as selective justice.

She is now trying to get that verdict overturned by the European Court for Human Rights (EHCR) which plans to hold a public hearing on her case on Aug 28.

But a second conviction could keep Tymoshenko behind bars even if the EHCR eventually rules in her favor.

"They (the authorities) want a second verdict before the ruling of the European Court for Human Rights," Evgenia Tymoshenko told Reuters at her mother's party headquarters.

Tymoshenko, who was moved from prison to a state-run clinic in May for treatment for a chronic back problem, has refused to attend all the previous hearings in the new trial.

Tymoshenko has also refused to take part in the hearings through video link, something allowed by a bill that Yanukovich signed this month.

The tax evasion and embezzlement charges, which she denies, go back to the 1990s when she ran a major gas trading company.

Tymoshenko's conviction for abuse of office stems from a gas deal with Russia which she brokered in 2009 as prime minister and which the Yanukovich government says has saddled Ukraine with an unfair price for energy supplies.

Tymoshenko, who led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that derailed Yanukovich's first bid for presidency, says she is the victim of a vendetta by the president who defeated her in an election in February 2010.

The EU has urged her release and shelved deals with Ukraine on free trade and political association.

Tymoshenko's detention keeps her out of politics as her party, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), prepares for October parliamentary elections.

Tymoshenko's family hopes she will be released after the vote.

"We think she will be with us this year," Evgenia Tymoshenko said.

Source: Chicago Tribune