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Ukraine’s state prosecutor has hit jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko with another accusation, and this time it is murder.

Yevhen Shcherban was a member of parliament and businessman, one of Ukraine’s richest men and the power in the Donetsk region when he perished in a hail of bullets leaving his plane in 1996.

Now prosecutor Viktor Pshonka says Tymoshenko, a powerful gas trader at the time, ordered the hit along with former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko for just over two million euros.

“It was President Viktor Yanukovych who gained more than anyone else politically, as 4 months after the murder he, all of a sudden and most unexpectedly became the Governor of the Donetsk Region,” says Tymoshenko’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko.

Yanukovich’s criminal record did not stop him then, and did not stop him becoming president, but now say his critics he is criminalising the opposition on trumped-up political charges, and is seeking to keep Tymoshenko behind bars permanently.

She has been unable to see the charges yet, as on Friday when the documents were delivered to her prison hospital she was too ill to receive them.

Tymoshenko suffers from a debilitating back condition, but her latest visitors have expressed alarm at her condition, saying she is by turns incoherent and confused and in almost constant pain, refusing a bed and sleeping in a chair in the corridor.

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