Ukraine authorities have moved to quash claims Yulia Tymoshenko is being mistreated by inviting euronews to take a look inside the jail where the former prime minister is being held.
Since being imprisoned for seven years for abuse of power last October, Tymoshenko’s lawyers say she has been gravely ill and complained of poor living conditions in the jail.
Our cameras were shown rooms said to be typical of the penitentiary and we were also given a tour of the prison’s workshop.
“Sanitary and everyday life is not so bad here, but it’s better not to be here,” one inmate told us.
The European Court of Human Rights on Friday called on Ukraine to release Tymoshenko for medical treatment. Prison authorities say their facilities are more than adequate for dealing with the debilitating and painful back problem she alleges to be suffering from.
However, Sergei Vlasenko, her chief defence lawyer, completly disagrees: “I don’t know what they showed you or how they’ve decorated, but yesterday I saw prisoners cleaning with their toothbrushes. It reminded me of my service in the Soviet Army.”
Our correspondent in Ukraine, Evgeniya Rudenko, says although the state prison allowed our cameras inside the colony, they did not show us the place where Tymoshenko is being held: “Not the wing, not her room or even a window of the cell block.”