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Wide condemnation of Tymoshenko verdict

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Wide condemnation of Tymoshenko verdict


There has been a stunned reaction in Ukraine and elsewhere to the seven year jail sentence handed down to former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

She was found guilty after a three-month trial of abuse of office in gas negotiations with Russia in 2009.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he did not understand the verdict, the White House said it was “disappointed”, and the EU said it smacked of “selective” justice. Her lawyers say she will appeal.

Tymoshenko was also fined 147 million euros, the sum it is alleged state gas company Naftogaz lost on the deal, and was barred from holding office for three years.

The trial has been a public relations disaster for President Viktor Yanukovich, who many people suspect of using the courts to eliminate his most serious political rival. However, he has hinted he may reclassify the verdict as an administrative rather than criminal offence, allowing her to escape a long jail sentence.

If Tymoshenko’s appeal fails, she will be unable to contest parliamentary elections next year, or the 2015 presidentials.

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