Tymoshenko on hunger strike to dispute Ukraine election "vote-rigging"

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Tymoshenko on hunger strike to dispute Ukraine election "vote-rigging"

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Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has gone on hunger strike for the second time in months.

The 51-year-old is protesting what she alleges was widespread vote-rigging in Sunday’s parliamentary election, which the ruling Party of Regions is estimated to have won.

Tymoshenko is 12 months into a seven year jail sentence, a conviction criticised by the West as “politically motivated”.

She was accused of overstepping her powers as prime minister in a 2009 gas deal with Russia.

Tymoshenko’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko read out a statement to her supporters following her decision:

“If I were with you now and had an opportunity to act freely I would – without doubt – call on you to stage an indefinite protest and, together, we would show these fraudsters their place as we’ve done many times before. I declare a hunger strike to protest against these fake elections and the illegitimate parliament.”

Tymoshenko has spent months in hospital with chronic back pain following her jailing.

She staged a hunger strike earlier in the year, alleging that prison staff had beaten her.