France has expressed fresh concerns over the plight of Ukraine’s jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
It comes after France’s human rights ambassador was denied access to the opposition leader who was imprisoned for abuse of power last year.
But Francois Zimeray says Ukraine will have to open up to questions, especially if it wants to join the European Union.
“There will be other chances this year among them Euro 2012 and the OSCE presidency, these will be important opportunities for dialogue. There will be opportunities to question Ukraine very strongly and I hope that Ukraine will show to the world that it can respect human rights, fundamental rights, in a better way than now,” Zimeray added.
For Tymoshenko’s lawyer, the decision to turn down a meeting is just the latest sign of the government’s disregard for her mother’s ill health.
“The regime is using it to put moral, psychological pressure on her, to break her physically and psychologically and they are doing it every day by putting her under 24 hours surveillance which is also that is also illegal, and that is probably the reason why they didn’t allow Ambassador Zimeray to come and see her,” said Evgenya Tymoshenko.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s prison service described Tymoshenko’s health as satisfactory.