Supporters of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko held a mock funeral for the rule of law in Ukraine on Wednesday after the country’s high court upheld her conviction for abuse of office.
They buried a statue of Femdia, a goddess of justice, close to the courtroom before protesting against her seven-year jail term for signing what is deemed to have been an overly expensive gas deal with Russia.
The 51-year-old says the case has been orchestrated by her long-time political rival, President Viktor Yanukovich.
That view was again dismissed by lawyers for the prosecution.
“It’s about a criminal conviction for crimes she committed. She exceeded the limits of her official authority, which resulted in damage to the state,” said Oksana Drohobytska, prosecuting counsel.
Tymoshenko’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko explained that the ruling means the European Court of Human Rights can begin reviewing the case.
He said the legal papers “would be filed within the next few days.”
Ukraine faces a general election in two months time. Tymoshenko’s jailing has soured relations with the European Union, with many Western politicians boycotting Euro 2012 matches held in Ukraine in protest at her treatment.