Former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has lost her appeal against abuse of office charges.
The ruling, in Kiev, means her seven-year jail sentence stands and she will not be released in the near future.
The case has soured Ukraine’s ties with the west.As a fierce critic of President Viktor Yanukovich, Tymoshenko’s backers claim she is the victim of a “personal vendetta.”
“After this decision, President Yanukovich stops being a president, he becomes a dictator of the criminal regime,” said supporter Oleksandr Turchynov.
Tymoshenko was sentenced for overstepping her authority while negotiating a gas contract with Russia in 2009.
She denies any wrongdoing.
A case has been filed with the European Court of Human Rights, which is expected to be fast-tracked.
The EU and America have condemned Tymoshenko’s detention and demanded her release.
The European Union this week refused to sign a key partnership deal with Ukraine because of the case.
President Yanukovich has said it is down to the courts to decide Tymoshenko’s fate.